Letter to the Editor

Ambler Road a bad idea

To the editor:  As a 58-year Alaska resident, I’m outraged and deeply saddened at the plan by the state-funded Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority to build the Ambler Road across pristine Arctic wilderness and with no respect for the consequences for those lands, the animals that inhabit them, and the Native peoples who depend on them for their subsistence.

Consequences I see for the area if the road is built:

• Interruption of the migratory movements of the Western Caribou Herd, resulting in serious impacts on the subsistence lives of the Inupiat and Athabascan peoples living there.

• Devastation of the unparallelled wilderness landscapes and wildlife and hence of the delicate ecological balance of the area. The Kobuk watershed will be particularly hard hit, especially its salmon and sheefish runs.

Although AIDEA proposed paying for Trilogy’s “private” industrial road by selling bonds, then financing the bonds by charging Trilogy an annual toll for the mine’s lifespan, I believe, as with the Dalton Highway, there would soon be too much pressure from Alaskans to open the road for general use by the public. Then, I ask, where will the money come from to maintain it? With insufficient funds to maintain even the roads we presently have, and with further challenges from climate change, the Ambler Road will become yet another financial noose around our necks.

Worse, for a foreign mining corporation such as Trilogy to even contemplate shipping the copper ore in tens of thousands of immense diesel-powered truckloads from the Kobuk mine more than 400 miles to the railhead in Fairbanks, then send it by railroad to Anchorage to be transshipped by huge freighters overseas to Asia to be smelted and used there to build their cities and military might is akin to insanity. And imagine the colossal amounts of carbon pollution that will be spewed into our atmosphere and onto adjacent wildlands and added to the greenhouse gases that are already warming the planet to catastrophic levels. And with no benefit to Alaska’s treasury because of our pitifully low royalty requirements!

Those involved in what Greta Thunberg called “fairy tales of eternal economic growth,” with no respect for future generations, should heed the remaining words of her speech: “How dare you!”

Frank Keim



The Daily News-Miner encourages residents to make themselves heard through the Opinion pages. Readers' letters and columns also appear online at newsminer.com. Contact the editor with questions at letters@newsminer.com or call 459-7574.

Community Perspective

Send Community Perspective submissions by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707) or via email (letters@newsminer.com). Submissions must be 500 to 750 words. Columns are welcome on a wide range of issues and should be well-written and well-researched with attribution of sources. Include a full name, email address, daytime telephone number and headshot photograph suitable for publication (email jpg or tiff files at 150 dpi.) You may also schedule a photo to be taken at the News-Miner office. The News-Miner reserves the right to edit submissions or to reject those of poor quality or taste without consulting the writer.

Letters to the editor

Send letters to the editor by mail (P.O. Box 70710, Fairbanks AK 99707), by fax (907-452-7917) or via email (letters@newsminer.com). Writers are limited to one letter every two weeks (14 days.) All letters must contain no more than 350 words and include a full name (no abbreviation), daytime and evening phone numbers and physical address. (If no phone, then provide a mailing address or email address.) The Daily News-Miner reserves the right to edit or reject letters without consulting the writer.

Submit your news & photos

Let us know what you're seeing and hearing around the community.