Alaska delegation critiques BLM’s recommendation on Ambler Road

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 U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Rep. Mary Sattler Peltola released statements after the U.S. Department of the Interior released its long-delayed draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Ambler Access Project

“This road is guaranteed under federal law and will facilitate access to crucial supplies of copper, cobalt, gallium, germanium, and other minerals that our nation currently imports from abroad. This is particularly important as China cuts off exports of gallium and germanium, cobalt is produced through modern-day slavery in the DRC, and some of our best analysts are forecasting shortages of copper within a decade,” said Murkowski. “Given the clear terms of the law and the strategic importance of this project, you would expect the Biden administration to prioritize its approval with reasonable mitigation measures for subsistence. You would also expect them to recognize that Alaska has repeatedly demonstrated that subsistence rights can safely co-exist with road infrastructure. My team and I will review this document closely, but based on what Interior released today, it does not appear they have undertaken the serious, credible analysis that we expected and deserved.” 

“Here we go again. The Biden administration is reversing yet another fully completed Environmental Impact Statement—approved by the previous administration—on a critical Alaska project,” said Sullivan. “Our country is in the midst of one of the most dangerous periods since World War II. One of America’s greatest strengths over our adversaries is our energy and critical minerals. Remarkably, the Biden administration has sought to unilaterally disarm these strengths, including with today’s Ambler Road supplemental EIS, which sets up more hurdles to access one the biggest deposits of much-needed critical minerals in our country. Additionally, this supplemental EIS is almost certainly counter to ANILCA, which mandates that the Interior Secretary ‘shall’ grant an Ambler Road right-of-way not subject to judicial review. Finally, it is dishonest for the Biden administration to suggest that this project will become a public road, ignoring the fact that the application is for a private road, paid for with private funds. This is classic Biden administration: undermining American strengths in a very dangerous time, subverting the clear intent of federal law, and lying to Alaskans.”

“Projects in the Ambler mining district could create good-paying jobs for local communities while also developing an Alaska-based supply chain for the critical minerals our country needs to compete with China and create a cleaner energy grid,” said Peltola. “Those communities and local tribes must be adequately consulted. From my conversations with impacted communities, they want a private road, and I believe that a private road can find a balance between providing economic opportunities for the region while also protecting subsistence. I will continue to encourage the Interior Department to complete this process without further delays.”

The Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 guarantees a right-of-way across federal lands to provide access to the Ambler Mining District. Federal permitting for the AAP began in 2015 and included a rigorous environmental review and environmental and economic analysis. After holding 18 public meetings and considering over 3,000 unique public comments, in July 2020, the Secretaries of the Interior and Transportation signed a Record of Decision selecting the Northern Alignment as the approved route for the road. That same month, after holding 21 public meetings and reviewing over 21,000 public comments, the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers signed a joint ROD choosing Alternative A as the preferred alternative; subsequently BLM and National Park Service issued a 50-year ROW permit for the AAP.

In February 2022, the Biden Administration sought a voluntary court remand to conduct an SEIS for the road. President Biden held a roundtable on “Securing Critical Minerals for a Future Made in America” on the very same day—failing to recognize that the Ambler Mining District is one of the nation’s best options to produce them, but foreshadowing his administration’s incoherence on this issue. 

The court agreed to DOI’s remand request in May 2022, but placed conditions on it to ensure it would move forward expeditiously. In June 2023, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland testified to Congress that permitting would be completed by the end of the year, but just days later, the administration filed a court brief announcing a delay for a new ROD until mid-2024.

The Interior Department has set a 60-day public comment period from the date of the SEIS’ publication in the Federal Register, which is expected next week.

20 COMMENTS

  1. I do not believe this administration does what it does out of incoherence. It does what it does out of evil. They want Alaska to be a park and will push in that direction until they get what they want. Our delegation, such as it is, is all that is between us and the evil of Washington D.C. swamp. May God help us.

    • Sally,
      It goes far beyond that. A One World Society (government) can only begin to function when America is severely weakened. This has been the game Plan of these Marxists for 75 years. Under Biden, that Plan is moving along nicely. Trump was the roadblock.

    • I agree.

      It’s law thar we do not have to follow laws pushed by this administration if it’s clearly helping (and ENDORSING) our enemies.

      I say screw the admin.
      Do it anyways, Biden is so 100% clearly engaged in treason. Do Alaskans a solid for once and keep the operation pushing forward.

      Trump will have your back guaranteed. But from what I’ve seen with Alaskan leadership they are to scared and don’t care about the will of the people if they are backing down.

      This regime in the white house needs to stop cresting wars and culture wars inside our borders. It’s absolute treason and nobody will hold them accountable.

  2. All three of these Representatives should hang their Heads in shame! They say one thing but there’re voting records shows the opposite. Disgusting!

  3. You know we can’t get mad at DC closing up Alaska putting hinderances in its way for survival; while the same Delegation and Alaska’s leadership last Forty years maintained a dumb population hindering Alaskans dreams, ambitions, and goals through dumb public education. What an Atheist, Agnostic, unbeliever in the God of Isreal, would say Karma got the current Alaska Delegation and Alaska leadership for itself only thinking of themselves instead of the people last forty years.

    Read to your kids and listen to KATB 89.3FM and KLOVE 88.5. They don’t deserve to stay dumb and childish. Besides who going to take better care of the adult if the child grows up into a dumb adult child?

  4. Boy I’d hate to be on the receiving end of that strongly worded letter…..murky and peltola…….pphhew watch out blm.

  5. Hmmm… About this time next year, Bethel’s “Gag a Maggot Tour” entourage of the First Lady and the Secretary of Interior will march out a full blown campaign in the press telling Alaskan’s how Mary singlehandedly changed the direction of the Administration and made it possible for the mining of critical minerals America’s dependent on…… A real Super Woman on steroids.

    Political theatre at the right moment to save a greenie weenie Congresswoman that just voted against the Republican nominee for Speaker of the House who’s been to Alaska numerous times and supports drilling and development.

    If Peltola was for Alaskan security and prosperity, she would of crossed party lines and voted for Steve Scalise.

    Apparently all the promised dark money for her relelction is a lot more important than her constituents.

  6. A series of low head dams on the Kobuk would allow for barges at much less cost and environmental damage to a port at Cape Blossom. Airships could also be used. There’s is no financial feasibility with private financing Public financing as proposed by the State is not in the public interest

    • You are beyond deluded if you think airships could reliably transport mining equipment and material. If it wasn’t a bad joke, it was brain-dead stupid.

      There might be something there with the dams, but even that would be far less reliable than a road.

      Since the mines would be privately owned and operated, of course the roads would be privately funded, at least in part. At some point in the future, the private road could be handed-off to public ownership as demand and utility provided.

  7. You see, if TAPS were to have been dreamt up over the last couple of decades, there for sure wouldn’t have been a North Slope. Somehow, without any logic, todays populace want a country that was once in 1850 all the while demanding the status quo of what exists today; convenience and what not. It’s magic I tell ya.

  8. The Delegation foolishly assumes that the Folks at the Department of the Interior want to act in fidelity to the law. They don’t. They believe they are responding to a duty that is ABOVE the law and are proud to do so. The same thinking now predominates among most on the Left.

    But it is OK, Senator Murkowski — keep approving and increasing their budgets.

    • Exactly. Stop asking permission from folks who have no actual authority. The Fed Gov has no authority over the individual States, only over INTERstate commerce.

  9. Just build the road and tell the feds to go home. The feds don’t have the right to control a states rights to develop as they see fit. If the greenies don’t like it then they can go start their own state.

  10. We had a president in the seventies that catered to the hippies that used to physically chain themselves to trees in the forest protesting the harvest of valuable wood products in the pacific northwest that eventually decimated the logging industry because of a particular species of owl.(of which there are thousands of extinct species of birds and animals)

    Now those same forests cause massive uncontrollable fires during lightning storms that lasts for weeks because there are no fire breaks the logging industry used to manage those fires.

    Now we have a president that is hellbent on decimating the mining as well as the oil and gas industry “because of a change in the weather”(caused by the massive fires?)but realistically he must cater to his chinese directives as a result of the massive amounts of cash He and his family received as a result of being loyal to CCP who paid him much more than what the US paid him as a “public servant”.

    When one accepts unearned bribe money you must follow their directive or face serious consequences.

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