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New website takes on controversial rural Alaska road project

Alaska Dispatch

Opponents of a proposed road to Ambler have launched a website contesting the project championed by Alaska Gov. Sean Parnell.

As part of the Roads to Resources initiative, Parnell proposes construction of a road to Umiat, Nome and Ambler in an effort to make it easier to tap some of the state's most remote natural resources. Construction of some 220 miles of road through the Alaska hinterlands is estimated to cost $1.7 to $2.4 billion.

According to a press release from the Brooks Range Council, "mining the area would virtually guarantee the release of toxic metals and acid-producing sulfide." The Brooks Range Council opposes the "use of state funds to pay for industrial roads for private industry."

Parnell, however, sees the Ambler road project as a guiding light of economic development in the state and an opportunity "to secure Alaska's resources for Alaskans' benefit," according to the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, which reported on the Brooks Range Council's new website.

The News-Miner reports:

Longtime Bettles resident DaleLynn Gardner said the Brooks Range Council hopes to clear up the misconception that everyone wants the road.

“The governor may think there is public support because the mining industry is a powerful lobby, but in our experience most people who live up here don’t want the road. Our City Council passed a resolution that says just that, so the state should certainly know how we feel now,” Gardner said.

Read more at the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.