Stunning video courtesy of my buddy Seth Kantner, author of A Thousand Trails Home and Ordinary Wolves.
Ambler Mining District Road: The Road to Nowhere for No one.
The Ambler Mining District Road is a classic Alaskan boondoggle wrapped in talk of national security and minerals needed for electric cars. The truth can be summed up in what was once a tagline that had the rest of America laughing at us. Remember those Bridges to Nowhere? How about eleven major bridges to nowhere?
Better yet, let’s try this embarrassing line on for size:
The Road to Nowhere for No one.
What’s more, this is a publicly funded yet private road, completely off use to the public extending from the Dalton Highway for 211 miles to where exactly? Nowhere! Not a single village. Not a specific mine. What do we as Alaskans hope to get out of this? It’s certainly not tax revenue. Our state makes more off alcohol and tobacco taxes than money from mining. The most common argument we’ll hear time and time again for this road to nowhere for no one is good paying jobs. Though statistics show us that many of these jobs go to outsiders, and how many people want to work at a mine so far from home? For those who call this region home, what about the quality of hunting and fishing? Is there anyone who believes this road will improve local hunting and fishing opportunities, or somehow help grow the caribou herd?
The reality of what we’ll get for this questionable mining road is what we’ve always gotten from mines in Alaska. Environmental messes, erosion of indigenous culture, and wholesale destruction and threats to wildlife and wildlife habitat. This region is Alaska’s version of Africa’s Serengeti and the threats posed by this road are real. A road all of us will pay for and none of us will be able to use or legitimately benefit from in any meaningful way.
Alaska residents and citizens of our nation deserve more time to hear about and comment on the impacts the Ambler Mining District Road will have on the land, the animals, and the culture of the region. We deserve answers to what multinational companies are behind the lobbying efforts and what voices from the area are being stifled or intimidated into remaining silent.
Unless this road is like some crazy Alaskan version of Field of Dreams and we’re duping ourselves into thinking if we “build it” they “will come,” the only real choice is to halt this project once and for all, or at the very minimum pause the process and allow for a more thorough and comprehensive public response time.
[November 4th is the deadline for public comments. Email your thoughts about this Road to Nowhere for No One to: BLM_AK_AKSO_AmblerRoad_Comments@blm.gov ]