Village of Kotzebue opposes Ambler road


A district Native group has taken a stand against a controversial road presentation in the Northwest Arctic.

The Native Village of Kotzebue recently passed a decision in opposition to the construction of the Ambler Access project. The move makes it one of the scad prominent bodies in the region to officially speak out against the road.

The vow came precisely one year to the day after the Bureau of Land Management formally portended the start of its environmental review process for the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Calculate.

“… The Native Village of Kotzebue Council believes that the relatively short-term fiscal and other benefits of industrial development in the upper Kobuk region is tip the scaled by the widespread long-term negative impacts to the fish and wildlife that whim result from this development,” the council noted in Resolution 18-15.

If approved, the beetle out would bring over 200 miles of road to the region. As it is currently put forwarded, it would begin at the Dalton Highway near Prospect Creek, meet north of Ambler and Bettles and terminate in the mining district in the southern foothills of the Brooks Roam.

Of the total 211 miles proposed, about 26 would rood Gates of the Arctic National Park. It would also cover real estates managed by the BLM, the state and Alaska Native corporations.

The mining district is mellow in copper, zinc, lead and other materials and the Alaska Industrial Maturation and Export Authority, which is leading the project, has argued the road on give mining companies the access they need to develop probables in the area. Those prospects could lead to financial returns to the government and local communities, they’ve argued.

While the road would specify an industry connection between the mining district and the haul road, it liking also cross prime subsistence use areas, which is of concern to guilds who oppose its construction.

“… Construction of the Ambler Road and likely additional urging roads and development of these mine sites and the associated industrial movement and tailings ponds will change the character of the upper Kobuk medium, including the Kobuk River,” the resolution reads. “… These metamorphoses will negatively affect the caribou, fish, birds and other wildlife right away through habitat destruction, habitat fragmentation, industrial disturbance and contamination, during the animation of the mines and for centuries thereafter… . The wildlife and fish that when one pleases be harmed from this development sustain the cultural, nutritional and ecclesiastical way of life of the tribal members of Qikiqtaġruk.”

Environmental groups like The Wilderness Sodality have also spoken out against the road, as have a handful of resident communities, including Allakaket, Ambler, Bettles, Evansville, Huslia, Kobuk and Koyukuk, along with Louden, Gabion and Ruby.

The Northwest Arctic Borough is in favor of the road project, while NANA Regional Corp. has corpsed neutral, though it supports the creation of an environmental impact statement for the design.

This proposal is in the spotlight at the state level as members of the House have in the offing been hearing expert testimony on the subject over the past week.

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