Proposed industrial access road would create local jobs and facilitate resource development and economic opportunities for Alaska
ANCHORAGE, Alaska — The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the proposed Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Road became available Friday on the Bureau of Land Management Alaska’s website. Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority is proposing an industrial access road connecting the Dalton Highway to the Ambler mineral belt in the Kobuk Valley potentially facilitating resource development and economic opportunities for Alaska.
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority estimates an annual average of approximately 486 jobs to be created during the road construction period and up to 68 full-time jobs for road operations and maintenance over the life of the road.
The proposed 211-mile, all-season road would serve to further mineral exploration in the area and facilitate increased mine development. The road would cross 61 percent state lands, 15 percent Alaska Native corporation lands, and 24 percent federal lands managed by the BLM and the National Park Service in the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Access for surface transportation purposes across the Gates of Arctic National Park and Preserve was identified in the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA) and the Secretary is authorized to permit access in accordance with the Act. The ANILCA also requires all appropriate federal agencies outside the National Park Service to work cooperatively on a single environmental analysis and concurrently issue a decision on the proposal.
“The BLM conducted extensive public outreach for this project and visited many remote communities that would be most affected by the road,” said BLM Alaska State Director Chad Padgett. “I realize the importance of this project to the State of Alaska and for the state’s ability to develop its resources and as such, I am committed to ensuring a thorough and comprehensive analysis. This can’t be done without substantive input from stakeholders.”
Public meetings about the Draft EIS are scheduled in Alatna, Allakaket, Ambler, Anaktuvuk Pass, Anchorage, Bettles, Coldfoot, Evansville, Fairbanks, Hughes, Huslia, Kiana, Kobuk, Kotzebue, Noatak, Noorvik, Selawik, Shungnak, Stevens Village, Tanana, Wiseman and Washington, D.C. The dates, times and locations of the meetings will be announced in advance through public releases and the BLM Alaska website and social media.
The Draft EIS will publish in the Federal Register on Aug. 30, 2019, which officially starts a 45-day public comment period. Comments on the Draft EIS will be accepted through Oct. 15, 2019, and should be specific to the document itself, commenting on sections or pages. Comments can be submitted in the following ways:
Documents pertinent to this proposal may be examined at the BLM Alaska State Office, BLM Alaska Public Information Center, 222 West 7th Avenue, Anchorage or at the BLM Fairbanks District Office, 222 University Avenue., Fairbanks.
The National Park Service (NPS) has prepared a Draft Environmental and Economic Analysis for the portion of the proposed Ambler Road that crosses NPS lands. The document is available at https://parkplanning.nps.gov/Ambler for a review period current with the BLM draft EIS.
© 2019, ↑ Alaska Native News
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