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Tribes and Conservation Groups Applaud Decision with Ads in State and National Media

Last Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) for the Ambler Road, a 200-mile private mining haul road proposed by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority along Alaska’s Southern Brooks Range and through Gates of the Arctic National Preserve. The FEIS identified permanent and severe impacts to dozens of Alaska rural communities and widespread harm to the caribou, salmon, and sheefish that sustain the region. 

Following extensive analysis and public review, the agency selected the “no action” alternative as the agency’s preferred alternative, indicating that the agency plans to deny the Right-Of-Way permit that’s necessary for the proposed private road to cross federal public lands. A final decision must be issued by the BLM no more than 30 days from when the FEIS appears in the Federal Register.

Public testimony at the 12 public hearings, held by the BLM in communities across the region, was overwhelmingly opposed to the road. The BLM received more than 135,000 comments against the road, and 82% of the public testimony delivered at public meetings in Alaska called for the administration to revoke the road permits. 

Individual Tribes, such as the Native Village of Evansville, and the Tanana Chiefs Conference (TCC), representing dozens of Tribes, have repeatedly urged the Biden administration to reject the road because of the harm it will inflict on subsistence resources that provide vital food security for communities in the region. They cheered the announcement:

“This is a historic win for the Alaska Native community,” said Brian Ridley, chief chair for the TCC. “It reaffirms that our voices matter, that our knowledge is invaluable, and that our lands and animals deserve protection.”

Julie Roberts-Hyslop, First Chief of the Native Village of Tanana, says that this is a time for Tribes to rejoice. “Listening to the people closest to the land and animals is critical,” said Roberts-Hyslop. “For years we have been sounding the alarm – the salmon are no longer returning to our rivers, climate change is altering the planet. It is time for us as a human race to take responsibility for what we are leaving to future generations. I would like to thank President Biden and his staff for the countless hours meeting and reviewing all necessary information needed to make this important decision.”

“The Ambler Road was permitted expediently under the Trump administration and was poorly justified with a deeply flawed Environmental Impact Statement,” said First Chief of Evansville Frank Thompson. “President Biden, the Secretary of the Interior, and BLM Director Tracy Stone-Manning have done their job well to reverse this insane decision and stop the proposed Ambler Road. Thank you to all that have helped in this fight for our survival.”

Today, Earthworks is honored to join with our conservation partners in support of the TCC and other local leaders to thank the BLM and the Biden administration for this important decision. The ad below will run in the Anchorage Daily News, Fairbanks News-Miner and DC-based Politico, expressing appreciation to the administration for listening and taking action. Please help spread the good news by sharing the ad with your social media networks!

Thank you President Biden, Secretary of Interior Haaland and BLM Director Tracy Stone Manning!