Letter to the editor

Ambler Road questions

To the editor: I was born in Fairbanks and raised in the Brooks range, just a few miles from the Ambler Road Proposal A.

I’ve spent my adult life working in detox centers, abused women’s shelters and advocating for victims of violent crime. It concerns me to see the complete lack of awareness that AIDEA has for the negative social impact this road will bring to the people of the Kobuk and Koyukuk valleys. Their promises are empty, just like they were empty for the people of Nome when the Rock Creek Mine came to their region.

Studies have shown that when mines are built, the communities closest suffer from increased rates of alcoholism, domestic violence and sexual assault. The villages in proximity to this proposed road and the potential mine(s) do not have the resources to support the influx of miners, truckers and man camps that will follow. I greatly fear for the women and children in every village that comes close to the proposed Ambler Road.

I strongly urge BLM to address the following questions:

1. How will you ensure the safety of the women and children living in the communities within proximity to this proposed road and the mine that will follow?

2. AIDEA has proposed a staffed gate at the Dalton Highway end, which is unlikely to be effective prevention for trafficking drugs, alcohol and other prohibited substances. What security measures will you take to keep poachers off the road who want to move drugs or alcohol into these Native communities or man camps or both?

3. How will you prevent alcohol or drugs from being put into the rivers and streams that connect to these communities as a way of gaining access to the villages?

5. How will you prevent sex trafficking on this road into the mine(s) or the man camps?

6. When more police officers and VPSOs are needed, who will pay for this?

7. How will you research and document and mitigate the potential for negative social impact on the indigenous people in the region of the proposed road?

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