The U.S. Bureau of Land Management has suspended access to Alaska’s Ambler Mining District. As warned of in February, the Biden Administration on March 11 notified the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, the project’s developer, that it won’t allow miners to use 25 miles of a right-of-way that has been used for more than 50 years by Alaskans. The short stretch over federal land would allow a 211-mile road to be connected to the state mining area from the rest of the highway system.
The Biden Administration said there were “significant deficiencies” in a Trump Administration environmental review.
The move was not a surprise, since the Biden Administration had previously pulled in the decision to allow the road, saying it wanted to review it.
Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy issued a statement:
“In February, the Department of Interior reopened an environmental impact statement for the Ambler Access Project that had undergone seven years of robust federal review and made a request to suspend the Ambler road right-of-way. Today, the Biden Administration suspended that right-of-way, saying subsistence and consultation with Alaska Natives wasn’t considered enough, despite 18 hearings in rural communities and 29,000 written comments received overall, and 50 pages of mitigation measures focused on preventing disruption to subsistence and protection of cultural resources.
“This suspension is another hasty move on the part of the Biden Administration. They sprint toward green energy, while shackling traditional oil and gas development on the way, and don’t consider the need to secure mineral supply chains for all those electric car batteries they want by 2030 and the half a million charging stations. It makes no sense. The Biden Administration blocks the development of a road to a mining district with the cobalt for the lithium batteries and the copper for the wires for charging stations. By suspending the right-of-way for the Ambler Road project, the Biden Administration ignores the gallium and germanium there that will be needed for the solar panels, smartphones, and computer chips of tomorrow.
“Mr. President will you brush this off as you did your curtailment on domestic oil production as you turn to Iran and Venezuela for more oil? Shall we continue to import cobalt from Congo for all your green energy plans? President Biden you would think that you would want to improve access to American sources of copper and other strategic minerals to increase renewables, not stop it.
“Once again, your energy policies don’t make sense.”