Ambler Road hearing: Biden agency puts everyone on a timer, but elders go first, can run out the clock

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The Anchorage public hearing on the Ambler Road, needed infrastructure to reach the state’s Ambler Mining District, is set for Wednesday, Dec. 13, in the Wilda Marston Theater on the ground floor of the Loussac Library. Many are expecting a large group of environmental activists to dominate the hearing.

The Bureau of Land Management has set the rules: Everyone who wants to testify has two minutes.

Except for elders.

Elders get to speak first and will not be time limited. After they run out the clock, other speakers will be selected “at random” until the meeting ends. The notice doesn’t say when the meeting will end but it starts at 5 pm and the library building closes at 8 pm.

It’s unclear what federal law allows some citizens to have priority and also unlimited time at the microphone during a public hearing, but the Biden Administration is signaling that it wants elders — code for “Native elders” — to dominate the public testimony.

But because of the wording, in fact, other elders could qualify. Anchorage Republican Women’s Club President Judy Eledge could declare herself an elder and tie up the microphone by reading graphic LGBTQ books that the Loussac Library allows in the kids section. So could Democrat activists of any age, so long as they “self identify” as an elder.

The term “elder” is ambiguous at best and discriminatory at least. AARP says anyone over 50 qualifies for membership as a senior citizen, another word for elder. In tribal culture, elder status does not mean old age, but recognition as an elder. It has, for some tribes, a spiritual or religious meaning, which adds another layer of lawsuit bait for the BLM. Some tribal elders are in their 30s.

This meeting appears to be, at the very least, a Civil Rights Act violation, and may also violate the Administrative Procedures Act. It may violate other laws and regulations, as well as the laws of common decency.

There have already been similar hearings on the new Ambler Road draft supplemental environmental impact statement in several Alaska Native communities, including Ambler, Shungnak, Kobuk, Allakaket, and a half dozen more.

Natives in Alaska already are granted government-to-government consultation status, and cooperating agency status. Now, the BLM is giving them a race-age card to play in Anchorage to take precedence at a public meeting over other citizens.

One woman with a newborn baby plans to attend on Wednesday and wondered if because she would be given the same courtesy as “elders” since her baby is so young and must be with her.

17 COMMENTS

  1. I have met some Mormon missionaries barely able to shave with a nametag that says, “Elder so-and-so.” Maybe they could qualify, too!

  2. More ‘devious’ manipulation and slight-of-hand to game and rig the system. No wonder Americans distrust the Guv’ment and everyone associated. If integrity continues to tank and nothing is done to restore it, it has a very dark future.

    • It is indeed a dark future. If we continue to rely on these systems in any way.

      I am very interested in how Argentina’s Milei implements ancap principles for the first time into a nation sate. It might be a way forward, as there is no future currently as is.

      We defeated the Soviet Union and then we became the Soviet union.

  3. Democrats don’t worry about breaking the law or abusing individual rights as long as they benefit in some way.

  4. What does Biden have to do with OUR public hearings???? Since even do the Feds tell us how to get public comment???? That is such a massive overreach and they need to just conduct the meeting and keep it everyone has 2 minutes. Period. Freedom of Speech is being strangled….. disgusting to watch.

  5. The meeting doesn’t mean nothing. It’s just lipstick on a pig.

    Mary Pelota is all about dividing Alaska into two different states. The Commercial railbelt and the Rural Reservation.

    The only reason we are involved in a lawsuit over fish management on the Kuskokwmin River is because of Mary Peltola and the intertribal fishing commission, sponsored and paid for by the U. S. Fish and wildlife.

    Peltola wants Federal control in Alaska. It’s really that simple.

    Just look at AFN. I look at the elder leadership and I look at what they advocate and the results of their far left environmental positions.

    How smart can that council of AFN elders be considering they alienated the biggest Regional Corporations that paid the money to keep the leadership and board well funded?

  6. ” Anchorage Republican Women’s Club President Judy Eledge could declare herself an elder and tie up the microphone by reading graphic LGBTQ books”. Bet she would.

  7. Just build the road and tell the feds this is some of state land that the feds have never released per the statehood agreement.
    So we are just going to take what’s ours.
    FJB

    • Railroad is the only way to go, Fairbanks to Red Dog. Spur to Ambler and down to Kotzebue. Federal laws regarding railroad construction make the way forward MUCH less of a problem. The laws were written to open up the west and guarantee right fo way. These laws are still on the books today. The road is a fools errand sponsored by those that will benefit financially from it’s construction. The Dalton will be decimated by that much increased traffic, particularly in summer. You want to develop th Ambler district in a hurry, build a railroad to it. Start hauling fuel and groceries and building materials west and haul zinc back. The revenue stream would be instantaneous. Crowley and Lynden will continue to spend millions to keep a rail from happening.

    • Then the state should have selected that land. Do you believe in following up on your word and contracts? Or do you just renege when it’s convenient?

  8. Gotta give them credit. It’s a novel way to jam the proceedings.

    Democrats really are afraid of democracy. It’s clear in their actions.

    • Except it didn’t jam up the proceedings at all. Everyone who wanted to was able to speak and the meeting was closed about 7.15. And ALL of the elders who spoke were in support of the project, so I’m not sure why a bunch of mining boosters are so up in arms over nothing. Maybe it’s just disdain for elders or Native elders.

  9. Freedom of speech; for sale. Paying people to talk in favor of your movement. Make them swear that they are not being financially compensated for their prepared statements with punishment for perjury. That would slow it down.

  10. I remember statehood. We really thought we would develop our state. But the Dems had other ideas. Everyone was looking forward to developing the state including the native community.

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