Biden administration deals setback to Ambler road

Aerial view of Ambler and the Kobuk River in the summer. (Photo courtesy of the National Park Service via UAF Gates of the Arctic Research Portal)
Aerial view of Ambler and the Kobuk River in the summer. (Photo courtesy of the National Park Service via UAF Gates of the Arctic Research Portal)

The Biden administration is reeling back federal permission for the proposed Ambler road, a project that would support large-scale mining in Northwest Alaska.

In a court filing Tuesday, the administration agreed with road opponents that the environmental analysis of the project is flawed. The Interior Department wants to reconsider the federal right-of-way permits that the Trump administration granted.

Alaska’s congressional delegation blasted the decision. Sen. Lisa Murkowski called the move a setback for the project but said the fight is not over.

“This project is too important to us in the state, to the people in the region, and really to the country for the resource,” said Murkowski.

The Ambler mining district is believed to contain large amounts of good-quality copper and other minerals that proponents say will be important to an economy based on renewable resources. The proposed access road would stretch 211 miles in the Brooks Range, with 26 of those miles in the Gates of the Arctic National Park.

State Sen. Donny Olson, a Democrat who represents the region, said his constituents need the road and the mining it will support.

The project, though, is controversial. Tanana Chiefs Conference President Brian Ridley calls it a threat to cultural resources and the subsistence way of life.

Alaska Public Media

Alaska Public Media is our partner station in Anchorage. KTOO collaborates with partners across the state to cover important news and to share stories with our audiences.

Like what you just read? KTOO news stories are member supported. Support your community news source today. Donate to KTOO.

Read next

Site notifications
Update notification options
Subscribe to notifications