Ambler Road Rejected by BLM

April 22, 2024 By: Spencer Durrant

Photo: Alaska Region U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service/Flickr

The controversial Ambler Road project, proposed to bisect a portion of the Brooks Range in Alaska, has been rejected by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). The Ambler Road was proposed to be built across 3,000 streams home to grayling, arctic char, and sheefish, stretching for 211 miles west from Coldfoot, Alaska. The road would have been a private industrial corridor (meaning no public access would be permitted) to access potential mineral deposits in the Brooks Range. The viability of those mineral deposits is not currently known, and proponents of the Ambler Road claimed the road was necessary to figure out if potential mining projects could be profitable.

According to Yereth Rosen, of the Alaska Beaconthe BLM issued their decision in a supplemental environmental impact statement, wherein the BLM “selected the “no action” alternative as its policy choice for the Ambler Access Project, meaning the BLM does not intend to issue a permit allowing the road to cross through lands managed by the agency.”

However, as Rosen noted in her story, reaction to the decision in Alaska has been mixed. While the greater conservation community hails the decision as a victory for wildlife and clean water, several Alaska Native tribes, in addition to the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA). The AIDEA is a government-funded entity in Alaska, and would have issued bonds to pay for the Ambler Road.

“Most political leaders, along with business organizations and some Alaska Native groups are enthusiastic supporters, citing potential economic benefits of the mining activity it would enable,” writes Rosen.

Environmental groups, predictably, hailed the decision as a win for wilderness.

Rosen does an excellent job in her article showcasing the different opinions on both sides that are present in Alaska. I would highly recommend reading her story, which you can do here.