Letter to the Editor

‘Not this road, not at this time’

To the editor: Concerning Sunday’s editorial (News-Miner Sept. 15) about the Ambler Road, this is the wrong road at the wrong time. It does not access one village; it is being built to provide access for one mining company. The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority has even said if villages want access to this road, they would have to find their own money and build their own connector roads at their own expense. This despite the fact AIDEA plans to arrange private funding for the state guaranteed, 30-year bonds for this 10-year mine.

Practically every village in the Kobuk/Koyukuk regions has passed a resolution against this road. Even NANA (the Alaska Native corporation that has the most to gain from this road) has not come out publicly for this road. Evansville Inc. said “no” to this road crossing their 70,000 acres of private land in the Bettles area.

The existing favored route, south of Coldfoot, now must pass through Doyon land. As far as I know, Doyon has not yet given AIDEA permission to cross their lands.

The state of Alaska has already spent $23 million on this road. It will not be open to the public. Supposedly, it will only be open to industrial mining users for a fee that is unlikely to cover the cost of annual maintenance let alone the 30-year bonds for construction.

Why is this road being proposed? Oh, that’s right, Trilogy Metals, an associated company with Nova Copper, that already went bankrupt and made millions off the Rock Creek Mine on the Seward Peninsula, wants this road.

If a road is ever built to the Kobuk, it should be wanted by the people of the Kobuk and Koyukuk valleys and provide usable access to their villages for lower-cost supplies. In other words, it should benefit the local people, not just an international mining company with a questionable history.

Please attend the public hearing, which is scheduled 6-8:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Borealis Room at the Wedgewood Resort off College Road in Fairbanks. Tell the Bureau of Land Management, not this road, not at this time.

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