Biden Administration shuts down Ambler Road project

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Reversing a pro-mining ruling from the Trump Administration, the Biden Administration’s Department of Interior says it will not allow work on the road to the Ambler Mining District to proceed. Instead, it wants to review what it says was a faulty environmental impact statement process.

Work on the permitting for that state road started before 2010, with Gov. Sean Parnell advancing it as a “Roads to Resources” initiative. Tribes and environmentalists have opposed the road.

The announcement by the Department of Justice and Department of Interior was delayed until after Sen. Lisa Murkowski had left the Alaska Capitol today, where she had given remarks to the Alaska Legislature in a joint session. She didn’t mention the Ambler Road in her remarks, but referred to a mining task force at the Department of Interior. Many in Washington, D.C. knew in advance that the decision would be against Alaska’s interest in mining development at Ambler.

“Today the Department of Justice filed a response brief in the U.S. District Court for Alaska related to the development of a 211-mile road that would provide access to the Ambler Mining District in northwest Alaska. As authorized, the Ambler Road would cross the traditional homeland of many Alaska Native communities, including Koyukon, Tanana Athabascans and lfiupiat peoples. The road would cross 25 discontinuous miles of BLM-managed land and 26 miles of NPS-managed land within the Gates of the Arctic National Preserve,” Justice wrote.

”The Interior Department is asking the court to remand the right-of-way decision to the agency to correct the significant deficiencies we have identified in the underlying analyses. During the review, the Department will reconsider the analyses related to National Environmental Protection Act, National Historic Preservation Act, and Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act,” the statement said.

“Additionally, the Interior Department will suspend the right-of-way for the road during the review period to ensure that no ground-disturbing activity takes place that could potentially impact the resources in question,” DOI said.

The decision is a blow to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, the state agency that is the leader in trying to get the road built from the Dalton Highway to the mining district.

Late in the evening, the Alaska delegation issued a lengthy statement, in which all three members criticized the Biden Administration:

“America’s lack of mineral security should be one of the Biden administration’s highest priorities, but its incoherent policies are making the problem worse. It’s stunning: on the very same day the President attempted to tout ‘progress’ on mineral development, his administration backtracked and set back this crucial project, which will enable Alaska to responsibly produce a range of needed minerals,” Sen. Murkowski said in her statement. “This decision will harm Alaska, including the Alaska Natives who support and will benefit from this project. Nor could it come at a worse time: how can the Biden administration possibly watch Russia leverage Europe on natural gas, and then decide to put the United States in the exact same position on minerals? We will hold the administration to an aggressive timeline for the completion of this analysis and expect them to allow as much work on the project as possible to continue, even as that occurs.”

“This filing is a continuation of the Biden administration’s self-destructive policies that target Alaska families and American workers while seriously undermining our national security,” Sen. Dan Sullivan said in his statement. “As has been the case with many of this administration’s executive actions, the only winners are the far-left radical environmental groups that want to shut down all Alaska economic opportunities, and aggressive dictators like Russia’s Vladimir Putin and the Chinese Communist Party leader Xi Jinping, both of whom can hardly believe their luck that the leader of the free world—their biggest adversary—continues to unilaterally disarm America in some of our nation’s most important areas of strength: energy, natural resources and critical minerals.”

“Today’s move by the Department of the Interior could not have come at a worse time. We are in the midst of a continued global supply chain crisis that has seriously constrained the availability of critical minerals. Frankly, we can and should be responsibly developing critical minerals here in Alaska instead of continuing to be reliant on adversarial nations and the whims of geopolitical faceoffs,” Congressman Don Young said in his statement. “At this very moment, Vladimir Putin and his cronies appear to have their sights set on invading Ukraine. Why, then, would President Biden reward Putin by hamstringing our economy and Alaskan mining operations by burying the proposed Ambler Road project under mountains of paperwork and bureaucracy? This is not just bad policy but also an affront to our national security. The Ambler project represents a tremendous opportunity for our state, and it has successfully undergone legally required environmental reviews, including an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). To require another EIS is a significant waste of both taxpayer dollars and employee resources.”

Senate challenger Kelly Tshibaka, who is trying to unseat Sen. Murkowski, also commented, saying that when Murkowski voted to confirm Deb Haaland as Secretary of Interior, that had consequences for Alaska.

“Once again, from over 4,000 miles away, Deb Haaland has decided that she knows more about how Alaska should manage its natural resources than we do. By undertaking further study of the Ambler mining road, she is simply employing the environmental extremist tactic to kill a project they oppose. Even though Haaland has never set foot in Alaska, despite promises to visit to hear our concerns and learn about our priorities, she has repeatedly enacted the Biden Administration policies that directly attack our industries, our working families, and our entire state economy. No other state has been specifically and systematically targeted as Alaska has been under Biden and Haaland,” Tshibaka said. 

“I support development, infrastructure, mining, and job creation occurring in a process that includes the perspective of all affected Alaskans, because we know better how to responsibly use our own resources than some cabal of unelected Washington, D.C. bureaucrats. We can address the concerns of Alaska Native communities without shutting down the road completely. 

“To be clear: Deb Haaland would not be the Secretary of the Interior without Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who cast the tie-breaking committee vote to advance Haaland’s nomination for final confirmation. Murkowski even expressed reservations about Haaland’s radical environmental positions and the harm she could cause Alaska, but she voted for her anyway to please her D.C. pals. Murkowski continues to talk a big game about infrastructure, but all we see here in Alaska are projects getting killed by federal bureaucrats she put in charge. When I am the next senator from Alaska, I will always do what is in the best interests of our state, and look for nominees who know how to get to ‘yes’ on issues that are important to us, instead of beginning and ending at ‘no,’”  Tshibaka said.

55 COMMENTS

  1. “To be clear: Deb Haaland would not be the Secretary of the Interior without Sen. Lisa Murkowski, who cast the tie-breaking committee vote to advance Haaland’s nomination for final confirmation. Murkowski even expressed reservations about Haaland’s radical environmental positions and the harm she could cause Alaska, but she voted for her anyway to please her D.C. pals.”

    Does this hold true for Sen Sullivan as well? I believe he also voted yes, please correct me if I’m wrong. If true, who is going to run and get him out of there?

    • Murkowski is infamous for breaking tie votes in favor of the leftists. I believe Obamacare was another among many. Look at your neighbors to see those seeking to reduce our nation to 2nd/3rd-world status. Their self-righteous ideology is to reduce our culture rather than uplift the have-nots of the world; they are communists at heart. Behold, your neighbors are an existential threat to your way of life; they are the disease; Murkowski and Biden are merely the symptoms. Frank Murkowski’s most notable legacy is the eternal damage he has done to Alaska vis-a-vis appointing his daughter to the senate. An unequivocal disgrace.

    • As Senator Murkowski explained to Rep McCabe yesterday, Biden is calling the shots, Biden’s executive order is no different than the opposite order Trump gave bypassing NEPA. Both of our Senators know Haaland understands Alaska issues better than other choices Biden could have made.

  2. To be clear: Deb Haaland would not be the Secretary of the Interior without Sen. Lisa Murkowski…and Danny Sullivan, and Don Young (who walked her into the Senate). What a bunch of hypocrites. Anyone but them (but not a Democrat). Get out and vote!!! Let’s make Alaska great again.

    • Sad Alaskan, Biden is actually more sincere than most politicians. The communists of this country (many of whom likely are your neighbors) elected Biden to reduce our nation to 2nd world status. He is merely keeping his promise to them. He owes conservatives nothing; they never helped get him elected. Think, does the average conservative politician keep promises as well as Biden? We need to see our neighbors are a threat to our American way of life.

  3. I guess I must have missed it; did anyone in the press ask MS Murkowski about this? Maybe it’ll be covered by the channel 2 news in between talking about what the weather won’t be. They sure can be trusted to report the news when they do do such a fine job reporting the weather, for most of their air time. Accuracy, that’s their motto. Thanks for keeping us informed, Suzanne Downing, without you, there would be nothing but B.S. “ news “.

  4. Take down the Welcome signs and put up the CLOSED signs at every entry to Alaska.

    We’re closed – by diktat from DC.

    No longer a state. Not even a protectorate. Just a colony.

    And we’re going to stay that way until there is big-time regime change!

  5. This weak administration needs to be put to bed, for national security reasons, we were oil independent, aside from rubber, resource independent and before this black eye of a so called administration we had the best economy in decades!!! There are somethings that I didn’t like the orange man did but we were far better off then we are currently. Kind of funny every election year there is a viral outbreak, coVid broke the bank with its media hyped up outcome, for most unvaccinated people it is easily beaten with some psuedoephedrine, chicken soup, vicks vapor rub and lots of fluids, a lot of other countries are backtracking their coVid mandates, America needs to follow suit for the sake of American People and the Republic foundations our countries were founded on. Pretty ridiculous that in some parts of the US gas is over $6 dollars a gallon and diesel well over $7 dollars a gallon, milk $9 dollars a half gallon where I live, ground beef almost $8 dollars a pound. I am fed up and disgusted with this demented self serving administration!!! The conservatives and Republicans need to grow a spine and impeach them all for the Treasonous acts they the liberals and democrats have committed and continue to commit against the United States of America and its people!!!
    #FJB

  6. Good thing our neocon reps crossed the aisle to vote with the dems on the build back better inflation causing frivolous spending bill

  7. Same issue with the King Cove – Cold Bay road project. Lisa Murkowski tells the residents how she supports the road then stabs them in the back by voting to confirm leftist clowns that will monkeywrench the project administratively.

  8. Sullivan voted for Haaland
    so did Young. Young formerly encouraged Murkowski to vote for Haaland.

    Trump killed Pebble.

    Clearly we get what we vote for.

  9. Princess voted to confirm her. Don’t act butt hurt now.

    Biden and co are doing the kind of damage to this nation it will take a generation to repair. Assuming he doesn’t surrender us to Russia and the rest of the country to China.

  10. Both murkowski and Sullivan voted to confirm this leftist anti-Alaska democrat. One of her first actions was to attack the Alaska native Vietnam veterans.

  11. Murkowski couldn’t give a blip about Alaska’s future and shows that with her voting record for liberal policies out of Washington. And where is the Governor on this? Wasn’t it the Governor that was talking tough about resisting D.C. when it involves Alaska’s land? For how long will Dunleavy not act to protect our future?

    Alaska, 2022 is your opportunity to rid Alaska of do nothing anti-American politicians that are in politics for their own gain. We need to place Kelly Tshibaka in the U.S. Senate and make Chris Kurka our new Governor!
    Enough of do nothing elitist politicians, vote for America’s future and the preservation of our Constitution.

  12. Once Again: Kudo’s to the … “Ski, Sully & Yung” Team!!! You’re making us so proud of your political prowess, tactical maneuvering, significant accomplishments and your expert leadership – representation in DC. You’re truly of “exalted” class worthy of special notoriety and recognition. What more can we do for you and.or what other personal sacrifices can we make on behalf of your exemplary selfless service? Maybe(?), we can look forward to more of the same from you, to benefit Alaska and Alaskans?

  13. More theater from Murkowski and the other two useless representatives in DC.
    At some point the investors will pull away from the projects along this corridor, and that will be that.
    So much for any improvements in the area but I’m sure the German tourists that spend a few weeks inthe Brooks a year will sustain the way of life / Sarcasm

  14. Ask your self one question, which country controls the rare earth market? If you said China, you are right. This decision today is only one of many coming from the Biden crime syndicate that loots America and rewards our enemy.

    • Robert Schenker, Once again I must admonish you to address the core problem. Vast herds of communist leftists in this country dutifully elected Biden to degrade our nation into 2nd-world status. These so-called “fellow Americans” are perfectly willing to serve Communist China to promote Marxist ideology. I know for a fact you consider many of them “your friends.” However, “your friends'” seek to dismantle our American way of life; “your friends” are the real problem. They are not your friends. Their current tool of choice is Biden; a mere symptom of the real problem. I implore you to boldly remove the scales from your eyes.

      “And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith…” Acts9:18

      • Wayne Douglas Coogan
        Sir, I think my comment was spot on in that it set aside the popular belief that Haaland made her decision based upon an Environmental or Native Rights reasoning and spoke to the obvious truth.
        I must also admit that I cannot fathom the Irish mentality of constantly finding disagreement amongst those those with whom hold common ground. Perhaps the scripture regarding removing the sixteen foot two by twelve from thine own eye before telling me of the fly speck in mine eye might answer here?
        As for my friends Wayne, I do hold many lost souls dear to my heart, whether they be Maoist or Irish contrarians. I do so because I know that truth and light are attainable in all of God’s children and that God’s Grace and Mercy abounds even for one who once voted for Jimmy Carter.

        • Robert, since you utilized every source of rhetorical weaponry imaginable, you deserve an E for effort… but only for effort. Accordingly I will concede this particular joust to you.

  15. Senator Murkowski is responsible for the shutting down of Alaska’s resources. Now Russia’s Putin is using our radical environmentalists’ agendas to invade countries. Now we purchase oil from Russia–so we are in effect subsidizing the invasion of Ukraine. Europe, especially Germany, depend upon Putin for their energy thanks to President Biden and his oligarchy. Plain idiocy.

    • Senator Murkowski is not “responsible for shutting down of Alaska’s resources.” The majority of Alaskans voted for that woman. Most to continue receiving federally-funded free stuff. Murkowski is a symptom of the real problem–that is, our communist enemies living among us disguised as our friends and neighbors. Focus on the problem–not the symptoms.

  16. We are a colony. Always has been, always will be. The only reason why we even have an inkling of an economy is our North Slope oil production. It’s good we got that started in the 60’s and then the pipeline in the 70’s because if it were today, it’d never happen.

  17. Sent the following to the delegation this morning. Cheers –

    I note that infrastructure to the Biden Department of the Interior apparently now includes canceling road projects like the Ambler Road. All three of you own this, having supported, voted for, and celebrated the nomination of Deb Haaland for Interior Secretary. Perhaps next time, you ought to look at qualifications other than sex and race for nominees. As this is YOUR problem, and you caused it, it is up to YOU to do something about it other than issuing a press release. The Biden war on Alaska continues. And it is your fault. What do you plan to do? Cheers –

    • Agimarc, we, the voters (the masters), hired the three servants, Murkowski, Sullivan and Young, to whom you are speaking. You are mistaken to tell these servants that their negative communist actions are their problem. The fact is, the servants reflect the will of is their masters; the problem is of our making. See Rep Jim Jordan and Sen Rand Paul for examples of proper servants who were hired by informed and thoughtful masters. Alaska is not occupied by informed and thoughtful masters (voters). Please direct your concerns to the foolish elements of voters who obviate your thoughtful hiring choices. It is very likely your own neighbor is choosing to diminish your quality of life.

      • Agimarc, we, the voters (the masters), hired the three servants, Murkowski, Sullivan and Young, to whom you are speaking. You are mistaken to tell these servants that their negative communist actions are their problem. The fact is, the servants reflect the will of their masters; the problem is of our making. See Rep Jim Jordan and Sen Rand Paul for examples of proper servants who were hired by informed and thoughtful masters. Alaska is not occupied by informed and thoughtful masters (voters). Please direct your concerns to the foolish elements of voters who obviate your thoughtful hiring choices. It is very likely your own neighbor is choosing to diminish your quality of life.

  18. How many of you are so tired of hearing how shocked our delegation is at what Biden has done. We need candidates who don’t just talk about how it should be.

    We heard that from sullivan when he first ran. We need to let the candidates know we are not stupid, we see what’s happening, and they better come up with something beside typical political talk.

    I think our delegation really thinks we are stupid. Here in Southeast we have herring fisheries getting ready to go because Japan has done a lot to take care of covid. What they have done is taken a medication that Trump told us was a good medicine for covid. But with Biden we can’t have that, we can’t have anything that shows Trump was right. you would think our delegation would be all over this but they’re silent. Biden should be in jail but our delegation is silent.

    • Mike Svenson, like others on here you lament about the symptoms without mentioning the problem. You say, “We need candidates who don’t just talk about how it should be.” Really? What good would such candidates be when the majority of voters are now embracing communist/totalitarian ideology? You do realize communist voters elect communist politicians, right? We need to be unabashedly confronting our leftist fellow Americans. They are attacking our way of life with their stupid voting choices. Fielding conservative candidates will not address the problem. I repeat: fielding conservative candidates that our majority communist neighbors will never vote for will not solve our problems. To solve a problem we must deal with it directly rather than dealing with the symptoms.

      • Wayne, I don’t think that is entirely true. While I agree that many of our neighbors are beholden to a marxist ideology, I don’t think they are the majority. Look at the election of Bronson for evidence. He was elected despite the obvious attempt at a 2020-esque rig job by the municipality, and he was the most conservative candidate in the field. I believe the Republican party is moving away from RINOs and neo-cons toward a more populist, libertarian-friendly party. This is a good thing, and I believe those candidates who run on such a platform will continue to win, mainly thanks to the communists populating government at all levels right now. They are pushing too hard too fast and it is mobilizing reasonable Americans with love for the US Constitution like I’ve never seen. The further the left pushes, the harder the push-back will be. Barring fraud, of course(which is entirely possible). That being said, I agree that the public gets the politicians they deserve. Freedom loving Americans have sat on their hands for too long. I guess it is taking blatant totalitarianism to get people off their butts and take action. Let’s Go Brandon!

  19. Well the communists can freeze our accounts, reduce employment opportunities, limit food, close and limit congregations, but communism could not stop the sharing of the gospel and people fed by it. Even throwing the christians of eastern europe in jail and slave labor camps couldn’t stop the gospel. Two things Alaskans need while they wait for money, jobs, fuel, and food is reading their bible, build up the church already planted, and reading to the children. It’s a what we can do then sitting around having pity party.

  20. This is simply “lawfare” by this administration. Normally, you only see this type of stuff from the greenies with tons of money to spend, but no solid legal leg to stand on. File lawsuits (or in this case, reopen an environmental impact study) because of a minor issue. Tie the project up in court until the project sponsor gives up.
    .
    Rejecting the study at this point is no different.

  21. Murky’s got a lot of cheek complaining about this being shut down. SHE VOTED TO SEAT the person who decided this, looking no deeper than her skin color and her chromosome count. Apparently performance on the job and voting history mean nothing.
    .
    Ironically, it’s also true for Murkowski. When was the last time she did something to benefit conservatism?
    .
    Lisa, YOU’RE FIRED.

    • Frank, was the Parks Highway a foolish venture? I mean after all we already had the Richardson and the RR…
      What about the Haul Road, or the Dalton as it is now called. Another foolish venture?

      • If you find yourself arguing with someone about the need for a road, you will generally find you are arguing with a low-resolution Marxist ideologue. Moreover, the said Marxist would be a pinnacle example of a hypocrite… inasmuch as his entire existence and life style is dependent upon a fully-developed and integrated national road system. The exist everywhere; like fungus.

      • If you find yourself arguing with someone about the need for a road, you will generally find you are arguing with a low-resolution Marxist ideologue. Moreover, the said Marxist would be a pinnacle example of a hypocrite… inasmuch as his entire existence and lifestyle is dependent upon a fully-developed and integrated national road system. They exist everywhere; like fungus.

  22. So Murky, Straddle the Fence Sullivan and Young all trip all over themselves supporting faux POTUS Biden, then whine when he enacts policy contrary to Trump era policies? Phonies. And these people are Alaska’s best and brightest? We need to clean congressional house.

    • Now here is a credible comment discussing the real problem. Moreover, a dirty house is not cleaned by complaining about the dirt. It must be swept out. We must focus on the housekeepers (voters)…. many of whom desire to live in the dirt.

  23. Wasn’t Walker meeting with the Chinese in April of 2017?
    What has this got to do with the road shut down and Federal Gov. control?
    Now, let your mind wander to the mineral richness of our state – how much owning Alaska would benefit betrayal. It’s a dog eat dog world – and a chess game. There are no coincidences.
    We the people are fodder for the elites. Their gain is our loss.

  24. Wow what a perfect combination of morons it took to shut the road down, 3 more years of this president and this country will be no better than Venezuela.

  25. Apparently that 50 miles of easement was put into law 30 years ago as road right of way. It was guaranteed for a road to ambler. Now as usual the feds break the law and do a 180 on us. This copper deposit is a huge deal for Alaska, it’s also a big deal for green energy. If I was the governor ide start dozing tomorrow. Ide also start the road to king cove. I volunteer to stand guard duty on our equipment operators. Enough of these sleezy politicians. Down with Murkowski baby murdering traitor.

  26. Let’s make Alaska a museum state. Good only for tourists to come up to and take a peek around for a few days, then head back to warm weather. Lisa and Don Young can be docents. With the Lefties in the game, and complete dummies like Lisa and Don voting the Lefties into power, we might as well be a museum system. The combined IQ of Lisa and Don doesn’t make ice melt.

  27. The Ambler road is a waste of time and money. A railroad should go from Fairbanks to Ambler mining district, on over to Red Dog. In time, it would extend down to Kotz and Nome. A much more effective option for Alaska and it’s future.

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