Biden administration seeks public input on controversial Ambler Road proposal

ANCSA, Ambler Metals, Ambler Mining District, Bornite, Bornite Mine, mine, mining

The federal government will start taking public comment on Tuesday as it prepares a supplemental environmental review of the proposed 200-mile Ambler Road. The road is being pursued by a state development agency to access a mineral-rich area in Northwest Alaska.

The Bureau of Land Management will accept public comment for 45 days to help guide the review, the federal agency said in a statement last week.

Called a supplemental environmental impact statement, the study will consider the impacts of the proposed road in the southern Brooks Range foothills.

“We are eager to hear from the public, tribes and corporations to aid in helping us make an informed, durable decision,” said Geoff Beyersdorf, the Fairbanks district manager for the Bureau of Land Management in Alaska.

[New US climate law could lead to a mining ‘renaissance’ in Alaska, drawing excitement and concern]

The road, sought by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority, a state agency, would extend from the Dalton Highway in northern Alaska to the so-called Ambler Mining District near villages such as Ambler.

BLM issued a right-of-way permit for the road in 2020. Conservation and tribal groups sued the Trump administration in separate lawsuits, arguing that a previous environmental review leading to the permit was flawed. That led to the supplemental review under the Biden administration.

Ambler Metals is studying the economic potential of prospects in the area.

The supplemental environmental impact statement will address “deficiencies” in its analysis involving impacts to subsistence hunting and consultation with Alaska Native tribes, the Bureau of Land Management said last week in a prepared statement. It will also “ensure compliance with applicable law including the National Environmental Policy Act,” and other laws, the agency said.

Comments must be received prior to Nov. 4, the agency said.

Comments need to be submitted by email to BLM_AK_AKSO_; via the BLM ePlanning website; via fax at 907-271-5479; or by mail to BLM Alaska State Office, ATTN: Ambler Road Scoping Comments, 222 W. 7th Ave. Stop #13, Anchorage, AK 99513.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or