Voices of the Peninsula: Ambler road project threatens Alaska wild

I propose that this road not be built, certainly not on the State’s dime.

  • Monday, May 11, 2020 10:13pm
  • Opinion

In the May 10 edition of the Peninsula Clarion, Corri A. Feige, commissioner of the Alaska Department of Natural Resources, submitted an opinion on what was titled the “A stable economic future follows the Ambler Road.” For those unfamiliar with the road to the Ambler Mining District, the AIDEA (Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority) proposes to fund the planning, studies, securing rights of access across federal, state, Native and private lands, building and maintenance of the 211-mile road.

The article contained many facts including historical perspective, comparison to the Red Dog mine and projected employment and economic results in gross dollars. Indeed, the commentary conveyed the author’s stated intent.

Demands for scrutiny caused my further review.

Citing that the road would be closed to the general public, it “would allow deliveries of commercial goods to local communities and access for emergency responders.” (I presume the emergency response would also be to local communities.) There are three communities, each within 10 to 15 miles from the proposed road: Shungnak, Bettles and Kobuk. Shuttling commercial goods to those communities would be restricted to winter only as would emergency response. I guess 50% of the year makes this road agreeable.

Another rather stupendous, and not in a positive way, comment is “Without the Ambler road, those minerals would remain stranded in the ground.” This comment is preposterous on the face of it!

The largest omission is that nowhere does the Commissioner Feige even slightly mention that the beneficiaries of this road is NOT Alaska, nor the United States, but a Canadian partnership. We’ll facilitate a foreign entity’s profiteering off of our resources!

I propose that this road not be built, certainly not on the State’s dime. If the mining company is so convinced of the benefit of this mine, let them build their own road. But even better than that, no one should build this road. The alternative, tried and true, would be to build a runway long enough to accommodate C 130 Hercules aircraft. Haul in the buildings, the mining rigs, the personnel, the supplies and haul the minerals out. Happens every day of the world.

And the State avoids another possible AIDEA boondoggle plus maintains our beautiful wild lands and pristine rivers.

When I first arrived in the state, in the early ’70s, I lived in Nome. A friend took me flying one night and said enthusiastically “Look at that!” Straining to see something really special and failing, I asked what I was looking for. His comment thrills me to this day. “Miles and miles of NOTHING but miles and miles” was all he said. Let’s keep it that way.

— Sherry Lewis,


More in Opinion

A roll of “I voted” stickers sit at the Alaska Division of Elections office in Juneau in 2022. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Strengthening democracy: Native vote partners to boost voter registration

GOTNV and VPC are partnering to send over 4,000 voter registration applications this month to addresses and P.O. boxes all over Alaska

Priya Helweg is the acting regional director and executive officer for the Region 10 Office of Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Office of the Secretary, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (Photo courtesy U.S. Department of Health and Human Services)
Happy Pride Month

This month is dedicated to acknowledging and uplifting the voices and experiences of the LGBTQI+ community

Hiroko Masuike/The New York Times
Former President Donald Trump arrives at Trump Tower after he was found guilty of all counts in his criminal trial in New York on May 30.
Opinion: Trump’s new fixers

Fixers from Alaska and elsewhere step in after guilty verdict

Ballot booths are set up inside Kenai City Hall on Thursday, Sept. 29, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Perspective from an election worker

Here is what I know about our Kenai Peninsula Borough election system

Apayauq Reitan, the first transgender woman to participate in the Iditarod, tells the House Education Committee on March 30, 2023, why she opposes a bill restricting transgender rights. (Mark Sabbatini/Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The imaginary transgender sports crisis

House Bill 183 is a right-wing solution to a problem that doesn’t exist now and never will.

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Session ends with budget, dividend and bills passed

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

The Alaska State Capitol. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire file photo)
Listen to PAs; support Senate Bill 115: Modernizing PA Practice in Alaska

Health care is rapidly evolving, demanding a more flexible and responsive system

Mount Redoubt can be seen across Cook Inlet from North Kenai Beach on Thursday, July 2, 2022. (Erin Thompson/Peninsula Clarion file photo)
Opinion: Hilcorp Alaska: Powering Southcentral Alaska — past, present and future

Hilcorp Alaska has and will continue to fully develop our Cook Inlet basin leasehold

Sen. Jesse Bjorkman, a Nikiski Republican, speaks in favor of overriding a veto of Senate Bill 140 during floor debate of a joint session of the Alaska State Legislature on Monday, March 18, 2024 (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Sen. Jesse Bjorkman: Collegiality matters

Capitol Corner: Legislators report back from Juneau

Juneau Empire file photo
Larry Persily.
Opinion: Alaska might as well embrace the past

The governor, legislators, municipal officials and business leaders are worried that the Railbelt will run short of natural gas before the end of the decade

The Alaska State Capitol on March 1. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Opinion: Physicians oppose Alaska Senate Bill 115 — Independent Practice for PAs

Alaskans don’t want access to just any health care, they want access to high quality care