Alaska Governor Mike Dunleavy denounces the Biden Administration’s request for suspension of the Ambler Road right-of-way as yet another federal attempt to block economic and natural resource development with unfounded environmental claims, despite the project receiving a robust federal environmental review.
Under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), Alaska was guaranteed access to the rich resource potential of northwest Alaska.
“The Biden Administration has opened yet another front in its war on Alaska. You would think President Biden would want to improve access to American sources of copper and other strategic minerals that are needed in our combined efforts to increase renewables. Instead, actions like this only serve to push development to Third World nations that don’t have the environmental ethic that Alaskans have. This pendulum swing away from the last federal administration’s approval disregards extensive environmental studies and widespread social engagement while creating instability in long-term investment,” said Governor Dunleavy.
Today the U.S. Dept. of Interior requested a U.S. District Court to suspend the road right-of-way permit and to remand joint federal agency records of decision to the Department for “deficiencies.”
The 1,319-page Environmental Impact Statement and supporting studies thoroughly analyzed any potential impacts of the Ambler Road.
By delaying the development of critical minerals in Alaska, the Biden Administration is also asking the U.S. to rely on other countries rather than its own secure reliable U.S. supply chain resource. “With this action, the Biden Administration believes it is more strategic to rely on foreign adversaries – like China and Russia – for our nation’s supply of strategic minerals needed for renewables, electronics, and military defense at a time when Russia just invaded Ukraine,” Governor Dunleavy said.
The Ambler Road is a proposed 211-mile private industrial access road from the Dalton Highway to the Ambler Mining District in the Northwest Arctic Borough. The District is a large prospective copper-zinc mineral belt with extensive deposits of critical minerals and other elements essential for America’s tech-focused economy, emerging renewable energy, and military effectiveness. When constructed, the Ambler Road could bring thousands of jobs and more than $300 million in annual wages, once the mines in the District are operational.
Mining in the Ambler District would occur under the strictest environmental and health standards in the world. Mining would also provide a needed source of revenue for communities in the region, many of which continue to practice subsistence fishing and hunting. Alaska’s most vibrant subsistence cultures are those that have an economic foundation. Revenues from mining would also help fund public safety, education, and health services in Northwest Alaska.
A list of some of the actions taken against natural resource development in Alaska by the Biden Administration include:
- Suspended oil and gas leases in ANWR, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge
- Beginning to reinstate the Roadless Rule in the Tongass National Forest
- Reverted management of the NPR-A to the 2013 plan, prohibiting development on 6.7 million acres that were released from unnecessary closures by a 2020 plan revision
- Paused federal oil and gas lease sales
- Froze public land orders on 28 million acres of federal land, including Native Vietnam Veteran allotments
“We have confidence in the current federal environmental impact statement and the Record of Decision for the Ambler Access Road Project. The thorough work should not be remanded,” Governor Dunleavy said.