Damage control: Peltola walks back her support for Ambler mine access

Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Mary Peltola

Rep. Mary Peltola threw her staff under the bus during a radio interview on Tuesday, saying she did not approve of her name being put on a press release that was published by the Alaska delegation, which favors the construction of the Ambler Access Project, a road to a state-owned mining district.

In speaking to KNOM’s Ben Townsend, Peltola said she is not in favor of the road.

“I’m really glad you asked about this, Ben, because I actually did not approve my name being on that press release. I was traveling, I had been in Naknek for a bit and then Kotzebue yesterday, here in Nome today. I don’t think Senator Murkowski had signed off on that either,” she said.

In fact, the press release had come out of Murkowski’s office.

It is still among press releases listed at the official office website of Peltola.

“We do typically work as a team, I think our delegation works better than any other delegation, certainly better than any other bipartisan delegation. But we’re not in alignment on every single thing,” Peltola said.

“I really have heard a lot of new developments coming from the region on Ambler and the Ambler Road. NANA has taken a step back and said, “We’ve asked the proponents for six assurances, we’ve asked ADA for six assurances we can’t get one,” and that is pause for concern,” Peltola said.

“I do want to listen to the people of the region. I think it is still a controversial project. And even if I was all in, I don’t think we’re at that point. I think that this project really has hit a pause button so that we can learn more about it. And there’s more time for the proponents to have outreach with the stakeholders,” she said.

In her original quote in the June 28 news release, Peltola said, “All too often, promises made to Alaska Natives by Congress haven’t been kept; this decision is in contradiction to ANILCA. 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.”

Click to the interview at this link.

Later, Peltola’s staff issued a clarification:

On July 7 Mary Peltola’s team issued the follow clarification regarding her remarks on Ambler Road: 

“She was specifically referring to a Sullivan-authored amendment that she was not consulted on. I want to note that because it was Sullivan’s amendment, that is also why she mentioned Lisa Murkowski. The amendment would require Interior to select Alternative A or Alternative B from its SEIS as the preferred alternative for Ambler, either of which would ensure that the project can proceed. That amendment was mentioned in relation to Sullivan in the press release she refers to–hence the confusion.

As she says in her quote within the release, Rep. Peltola believes that all too often, promises made to Alaska Natives by Congress haven’t been kept and that this decision is in contradiction to ANILCA. During NDAA conference, she is focused on making sure that whatever final language may make it into the bill works for stakeholders in the region and that any road is private.”

Peltola must have forgotten about a press release from December that she was part of that also stated the entire delegation’s disappointment and frustration with the Department of the Interior’s “politicization and continued delay of the Ambler Access Project (AAP), which is needed to facilitate road access to the world-class Ambler Mining District in northwest Alaska.”

Peltola had this week announced that she was not going to be in Washington, D.C. this week because she wants to fill her freezer with fish, so she’ll be fishing instead.


  1. Building a private road with public money is not in the public interest, no matter where the road is being built. The railroad to Kennecott and the road to Kantishna was built by miners without government money because it made economic sense. When the Ambler Road makes economic sense it will get built

    • Right, because all the non-government, privately-built airports, ferry terminals, sewage treatment plants, and roads around the state attest to the fact the private sector will make the needed investment to build our state. Oh, wait….

    • Frank, Frank, Frank…. Thanks for the red herring. You don’t care if it’s public or private… both money or usage. Libs are just against anything that produces or causes production. Be honest. I agree that it should be a public road, but we all know the reason they have to keep it private is libs will throw in double against it if Alaskans can actually drive it and go hunting or camping… US mining for EV batteries is terrible but imagine Alaskans being able to drive to Alaska. Libs love inaccessible parks.

      • Child #8 would undoubtedly produce a paternity test. Prospective husband #6 should be apprised. He could end up in Bethel.

      • Kamala Harris’ husband, a white, Jewish First Dude wannabe, should’ve had a chat with Willie Brown years ago. Leftovers are still leftovers, even when you are praying for medium rare and caviar. Poor guy has to settle for Joe Biden’s heel, someone who climbed the Democrat political ladder by kneeling at each wrung.

    • Uh … Hell No!!! Not unless there’s a, significant insurance policy($$$), pre-arranged immunity deal and/or a legally binding Letter of Indemnity. Also, a … Pre-Nuptial, Post-Nuptial, and Quarterly Performance Metric Requirements w/ enforceable Liquidation Damages.

  2. A perfect wanted poster for the high crimes and misdemeanors they do on a daily basis against the will of the American people. They both are complicit in not abiding in their oath to the Constitution, in fact, they are actively destroying it. Neither of them can win an election without the help of ballot fraud or RCV. Please vote this year to repeal RCV and keep calling your Governor and demand and end to mail-in-voting and any form of drop boxes. The Dominion Machines are being hacked and should be outlawed in the State.

  3. F you George Clooney.

    You are nothing more than A prop that after you audition gets to redeem themselves in a cameo to play yourself.

    Meanwhile in real life / your voice that brands your product of the day / has consequences.

    Because I am a broke girl with a loud mouth.

    And I the difference between you and I is the sad fact that you are still a hired hand.

    You are a prop.

    You are handled by handlers.

    The only difference between you and Biden at this moment in time is that you still know when not to say ‘pause’ on the teleprompter that is your shallow life.

  4. No, representative Peltola, the only cop out concerning the Native population in that area is the Board that oversees the Red Dog mine. Zinc? Discussed payments under the table concerning the actual minerals taken off Native land and the paid for minerals.
    Back in the 1980’s- 90’s Representative Richard Foster was all for a road through to Ambler. He wanted either a road or railroad to help bring down the prices of overall goods to the local communities along with allowing cheaper transportation to Fairbanks and Anchorage, instead of airlines only. Certain Native groups do not want to let this happen because they would lose control in that area and maybe more Natives would question the ethics of the Red Dog Mine activities.

    • No. A right-of-way over a small part of the road was approved. Not approval by Corps of Engineers, Coast Guard, etc. The road was still supposed to comply with the part of the law requiring the decision maker to check out the impact on subsistence, and also the impact on cultural resources. The Trump plan blew both those off. It was the impact on subsistence that this new Secretary was checking out. None of the rest of the road on BLM land was ever authorized by the congress and the two routes that Sullivan mentions did not have prior approval by congress. Plus, as i say below, 44 years ago, the Senate committee that OK’d a crossing of the Gates of the Arctic never knew what we know now. The routes that Sullivan wants are madness.

  5. It is a good thing when a Representative learns from the opinions of her voters. Many of the earlier press releases came out BEFORE the large tabulation of the 60 Native communities that would hurt by the damage of this road. (even if road access to open pit mines suspended in the hills above the sheefish-rich Kobuk River was the best idea in the world, those two routes of Sullivan are madness. all-weather routes crossing 3,000 rivers and streams not used historically in summer either by gold miners or by subsistence travel??)

    I am not carrying a torch for Peltola, who has been split between the corporate Natives who like their jobs and the borough and people who live there who say that the subsistence livelihood is the NUMBER ONE priority. But it has been FORTY FOUR years since the tiny portion across the Gates of the Arctic was authorized. Read the Senate report then: they knew almost nothing about the caribou, and nothing at all about the “population level” destruction of the important Sheefish/whitefish population in the Kobuk River.

    PS: maybe no one knows how these Press Releases get signed around the congressional offices?? One staffer from one office drops in to another staffer from another offices, and signs off on what appears familiar from a senior legislator. They get dozens of these a day. Alaska should be happy to have a Member of Congress who checks and does a little course correction from an over-enthusiastic staffer.

    You seem to want her to double down on a massive mistake??

  6. O well we will be at war and this will be a national security effort. The military will have a road blasted through there 300’ wide. The reserves are well proven over 60 years let’s go mining. This road was already approved. Start dozing.

  7. In the old days private industry got a lot done with few federal constraints, and a lot of greasing of politicians. The Kennicott railroad was used as an example. Well, when the copper ran out the owners just packed up and left. Not exactly environmentally responsible. The federal government has an even worse track record. The only difference is they like to bury their sins so they can be found later. What is needed is ballance. Responsible development with oversight by the people affected. In the current state of the state and the country what we get is a whole lot of nothing. No politician wants to put their election chances on the line by supporting something they think might hurt them and private industry is so sick of them moving the goalposts that they are afraid to invest. But, it makes for a good show. And people scratch their heads and wonder about America’s decline.


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