Biden Interior Dept. locking up 28 million acres in Alaska — more than all of ANWR. But there’s a catch.

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In a move that will thrill Democrats and the environmental lobby, the Department of Interior’s final environmental impact statement on the Ambler Access road has gone against the mining project, a project that was actually guaranteed during the passage and signing of the Alaska National Interest Land Claims Act (ANILCA).

The Ambler Access Project is planned as a 211-mile, industrial-access road to reach the state’s Ambler Mining District.

ANILCA, while it established 10 new federal parks, preserves, and monuments throughout Alaska, had in it what President Jimmy Carter called the “Great Compromise,” which guaranteed access to and from the Ambler Mining District for resource development. That guarantee is found in Section 201(4) of ANILCA.

mblerThe Biden Administration, however, locked up 28 million acres of the land from oil and gas, mining, or activities that it says would threaten Alaska Natives, wildlife or any ecosystem that the Administration finds untouchable.

The decision, which is regulation-making by the Bureau of Land Management, came on the same day that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed what’s known as the “Chevron deference.” That decision said the regulatory agencies and their bureaucrats are not allowed to interpret the areas of law that are unclear. How the Chevron reversal will impact the Biden decision to lock up Ambler Mine and more than one and a half times the area of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge remains to be seen.

“Today’s double-whammy attack on Alaska’s resource development opportunities makes 65 times the Biden administration has targeted our state’s energy and economic future,” said Rick Whitbeck, Alaska state director for Power the Future. “This administration has completely kowtowed to radical environmentalists in an effort to gain favor at the ballot box.  Dismissing the fact that Congress mandated access to the Ambler Mining District is a brazen overreach of executive authority.  Placing 28 million acres – an area larger than the entire state of Tennessee – off-limits to responsible development is foolhardy, and only empowers China, Russia and other enemies of our Republic.”

The entire Alaska D.C. delegation expressed disapproval of the decision by the Interior Department.

“Nine years in federal permitting. Access to critical and strategic minerals that are essential for everything from clean energy to national security. A rare opportunity for development in rural Alaska under the highest standards, so we don’t have to import from unstable nations that have no protections for people or the environment,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski. “Somehow, none of that mattered to the Biden administration on the Ambler project. They have ignored federal law, our national vulnerabilities, and Alaska’s strong record of responsible development, all in the name of election year politics.” 

Sen. Dan Sullivan said, “There he goes again: President Biden’s announcement on the Ambler Road is lawless, hurts Alaska’s future and jobs for our state, undermines America’s national security, and only makes our country more dependent on adversaries like Communist China for critical minerals. These minerals are critically important for our national defense, economy, and renewable energy sector. ANILCA mandates the right-of-way for this road. Career professional staff from the Obama and Trump administrations studied and then approved it after several years. Consultations with Alaskan stakeholder groups were extensive and far-reaching. But no matter, Lower 48 eco-colonialists told Joe Biden to kill the road, and he obeyed. Sanctioning Alaska more than terrorist states, like Iran and Venezuela, and adversaries, like China, is now commonplace policy for the Biden administration. But I’m fighting back. I was able to get strong bipartisan support for my amendment in this year’s NDAA [Defense Authorization Act] that mandates this road and ensures the destiny of this project is controlled by Alaskans.”

Even Democrat Rep. Mary Peltola issues a few words, although she was wishy-washy: “All too often, promises made to Alaska Natives by Congress haven’t been kept; this decision is in contradiction to ANILCA,” Peltola said. “There’s a path forward where local buy-in for this project is real and sustainable. As we continue to work through NDAA, we will seek to affirm permanent private road access that will make these resources available in a way that works for stakeholders in the area.”

The minerals and metals within the Ambler District are crucial to economic and national security, said Murkowski and Sullivan.

  • Imports of copper have risen sharply in recent years. Numerous forecasts indicate there will be a substantial supply gap for copper in the years ahead. The Biden administration has stalled or rejected numerous copper projects across the nation, adding to future supply woes, they pointed out.
  • The dominant supplier of cobalt is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with which the Biden Administration has signed an agreement to allow the continued use of children as labor, and where horrific worker and environmental conditions exist. The Chinese government controls or owns most of the mines in the DRC and has in the past weaponized the mines by cutting off the exports of rare earth minerals to the United States.

But Biden issued a statement doubling down on his decision to harm Alaska: “Today, my Administration is stopping a 211-mile road from carving up a pristine area that Alaska Native communities rely on, in addition to steps we are taking to maintain protections on 28 million acres in Alaska from mining and drilling,” Biden said in a statement on the social media platform X. “These natural wonders demand our protection.”

18 COMMENTS

  1. Any international mining investors/speculators interested in the Alaskan or most of the United States, would have discerned that the last 40 years have seen progressive infiltration by environmentalists, poised to control further mining exploration or development permits. The American tragedy of these decades has seen the USA increasingly at war with itself & its future — with commodities security being sought off-shore. Though North American mining industry environmental safeguard technological improvements are at the top of the industry, it has been an internal propaganda war within the USA to lock-up wilderness areas — with Alaska at the fore-front of environmentalist protection campaigns. These same persons, and likely contributed funding from, yes, America’s adversaries, we have seen the futility of mining investing tgere in most of the USA. It is common-place and indeed axiomatic that such protracted discern-to-mining-commencement periods have driven away investors of anything related to North America. It will be VERY difficult to restore investor confidence in this region. America’s internal geo-political conflicts parallel such on-going deterioration in US credibility. The tragedy of “Occidental ‘Democracies’ “ is that environmentalist fanaticism ACTUALLY serves the interests of adversarial attacks, while concurrently further destroying our international wilderness areas and transferring degradation. Indeed climate-change activists and zealot environmentalists are actually enhancing the VERY issues plaguing our planet today, while effectively helping the arise of autocratic States. In view of such historical tragedy, ALL Alaskan projects will waste away with time.

    • Fred I bristle at the term “lockup”. Once wild land is marred by roads and silted streams and effluent from mining camps and the drill pads, excavation pits and industrial buildings are in place, the real lockup has occurred. No more is the land available to all 330 million of us plus the wildlife with whom we share this planet plus all ecosystems services is diminished or unavailable. Keep Alaska great.

      • The land is not available to anybody as you can’t get to it. Roads allow access to the 330 million of whom you speak. And roads allow access to those who would make use of the resources there for the benefit of all, rather than pointless SnapChat selfies.

      • Well Mike, you and all the outsiders need to start paying rent to Alaska annually per acre of each acre of land that is “Locked up” for posterity. In which financial institution would you like to make your annual lease payment?

      • The Human Beans and all their drill rigs and roads and pits aren’t part of nature? Why are we different? Why are you discriminating against the species Homosapien? How does are effluent make us more affluent?

  2. Sully(!!!) … It’s time to start to fight lawless with lawless, quit being a wuss, release the Marine Warrior ethos!

    Princess & Mary … Time to start earning your pay. Git to Work!

  3. Responding to Mike Lee’s comments herein, unless he never had children, nor uses all the culture technologies in the USA today (I live elsewhere & have for over 40 years… currently in my 6th year in a trailer), it becomes difficult to hear most Americans who still can think and make it to the next pay cheque, talk about preserving wilderness for future generations there; not forgetting that sourcing commodities overseas essentially is unequivocally NIMBYISM. Today we are witnessing many nations starting to oppose the USA today as the Americans still in the “haves camp” simply want it all: high standards of living, personal freedoms, and open spaces for future generations. All without considering that we are all now living on a planet whereby trade has put us all together. Other nations will destroy their own wilderness areas in order to feed the USA’s commodities.

    Mike, by coincidence, I was raised within a household of the first 700 Sierra Club activists in the 1950’s, 60’s and very early 70’s. My parents were very activist in the genesis of America’s concerns for their environment. I was a Sierra Club spokesman in California. I opted not to have children, particularly when residing in the USA. America’s overall problem will continue to be a rapidly growing human population; a people who consume at the highest per-capital level on the planet. America needs to control its population growth, while still championing capitalism and democracy; the latter being a certain luxury on our planet today. What we foreigners are witnessing today is that the USA is very rapidly destroying its future: wanting electric cars Bukit elsewhere on the planet, using everyone else’s soils and wilderness areas. The desire to save Alaska as a virtual National Park and virtually the entire USA for future generations is a “pipe dream” it too is unfair! Lastly, it will be only a matter of time before the USA will be engaging itself in many global wars, many of which are the struggle over commodities (which they currently are particularly in the Ukraine today). The USA is continuing to fight proxy wars abroad, while wrestling with even mining its way into the future. Conservation dreams of yester-year and simply impossible while humans continue to breed like cockroaches.

    • Do you vote as a democrat or a liberal? “I opted not to have children, particularly when residing in the USA. America’s overall problem will continue to be a rapidly growing human population; a people who consume at the highest per-capital level on the planet. America needs to control its population growth, while still championing capitalism and democracy;” “Conservation dreams of yester-year and simply impossible while humans continue to breed like cockroaches.”
      For a moment, I thought I was going to be reading another humanity-loving poster’s statement; but, NOPE! Another troll.

    • Another one who won’t fully commit to population reduction by not removing himself from the population forthwith so what You didn’t continue Your DNA.. Are we supposed to be impressed??

    • America needs to control its population growth?
      Try forming a human border wall with everyone holding hands surrounding our countries border…
      Or quite simply vote for the man who does it with steel…
      I prefer the latter.

    • Don’t ask me to pay for your dotage, fool. You are blind to the reality of human existence and our legitimacy as part of the environment.

  4. Simply promoting the principle: “live within one’s means”.

    The much-vaunted “sustainable energy age”, isn’t a notion in expensively realised.

    Alaskan democracy and state’s constitutional assurances since statehood genesis haven’t been fair. Alaska, will continue to struggle with its own future sovereignty, so-long as ‘lower 48’ controls continue. Anyone residing in Alaska might consider that they are simply tending the house (Alaska), while Washington D.C. continues to be the puppeteer.

    Government over-reach, indeed bureaucracies, comprised heavily of uN-elected & unaccountable persons; when lodged in such places as the Bureu of Land Managemyhealth, the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency —- all are a force working on their own agendas. Friends of mine at the Department of Defence, and the Department of Energy are focused on se urging America’s medium-term future; but complain the actions by bureaucrats of the former above agencies are more concerned about putting planetary preservation in front of human ones.

    Persons and Nation-States who plan for their futures without relying greatly on firstly partners or trade partners, might find themselves with less conflict within themselves & certainly others.

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