US BLM & 200-mile-long Ambler Mining District access road

US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) seeks public input on Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Road, which will be located in southern Brooks, Alaska

The US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will conduct a 45-day public scoping period to guide its supplemental evaluation of the proposed Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Road in the southern Brooks Range foothills in Alaska.

The announcement on September 20, 2022, was pursuant to an order by the US District Court for Alaska, a statement said. BLM explained that it is seeking public input before preparing a supplemental environmental impact statement to evaluate the proposal.

Alaskan mining district operations calls for public perspectives, including local tribes

“Diverse, on-the-ground perspectives are vital in promoting co-stewardship and ensuring resilient landscapes,” said Geoff Beyersdorf, BLM Fairbanks District Manager. “We are eager to hear from the public, Tribes and corporations to aid in helping us make an informed, durable decision.” 

The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority has proposed an industrial access road connecting the Dalton Highway to the Ambler Mining District. The proposed project would cross over 200 miles of lands managed by the BLM, National Park Service, the State of Alaska and several Alaska Native Corporations, as well as local municipalities and privately owned lands, the statement said. 

The project was originally approved in 2020; in May 2022 the US District Court for Alaska remanded the project approval to the BLM to conduct additional analysis.  

Alaska’s mining operations, interests and environmental impact

The BLM’s supplemental EIS will address identified deficiencies in its analysis of subsistence impacts and consultation with Tribes pursuant to section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and to ensure compliance with applicable law including the National Environmental Policy Act, the Federal Land Policy and Management Act, NHPA, and the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act.

The BLM is seeking public input on the scope of the analysis, potential alternatives, and identification of relevant information and studies to help determine which additional impacts and resources should be more thoroughly assessed. 

The supplemental environmental impact statement will evaluate a range of alternatives and take a close look at any potential impacts to biological, cultural, historic and subsistence resources such as caribou and fish, as well as measures to protect those resources. 

Additional opportunities for public participation, including at least a 45-day public comment period, will be provided upon publication of the draft supplemental environmental impact statement. 

The BLM added that it will continue to consult with Alaska Native Tribes and Corporations throughout the process.

To be considered, all comments must be received prior to November 4, 2022. Comments must be submitted through either email to BLM_AK_AKSO_ [email protected] or via the BLM ePlanning website at: https://eplanning.blm.gov/eplanning-ui/project/57323/510. If public meetings, subsistence-related hearings, and any other public participation activities are held, they will be announced on the ePlanning website, as well as other outreach means, the statement concluded.

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