Conservation groups sue government over Alaska mining road

A car passes an empty roadside pullout near Talkeetna, Alaska, in June 2020. A few conservation groups a filing a lawsuit that challenges a right-of-way permit through the Northwest Alaska wilderness for an industrial road to the Ambler Mining District. (Mark Thiessen/The Associated Press)
Conservation groups filed a lawsuit challenging a right-of-way permit through the Northwest Alaska wilderness for an industrial road to the Ambler Mining District that was approved by the federal government.

Trustees for Alaska and the Western Mining Action Project filed the lawsuit Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Alaska on behalf of the Northern Alaska Environmental Center and eight other groups, The Anchorage Daily News reported.

The Bureau of Land Management and other defendants failed to follow federal environmental laws and regulations, the lawsuit alleged.

The gravel road will pollute the region’s land and water and harm wildlife and residents, the lawsuit claims.

Defendants named in the lawsuit include the bureau, the U.S. Department of the Interior, the National Park Service, the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Coast Guard.

The road would link Alaska’s road system north of Fairbanks to the mineral-rich Ambler Mining District, ending near Ambler and other villages. Part of the road would cross Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve.

The Alaska Industrial and Development Export Authority applied for the right-of-way permit.

The land management bureau issued a record of decision in July saying the road stretching about 322 kilometres will serve the public interest, boost state revenues and employ thousands of workers during road and mine construction.

Related stories from around the North:

Canada: Canadian Indigenous leaders ‘losing faith’ in environmental protection amid budget cuts, CBC News

Greenland/Denmark: Greenland and Denmark finalize cooperation agreement on marine pollution response, Eye on the Arctic

Finland: Miners hunting for metals to battery cars threaten Finland’s Sámi reindeer herders’ homeland, Yle News

Iceland: Arctic Science Ministerial postponed to 2021 due to COVID-19, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Climate change hits back at Svalbard, coal mine flooded by melting glacier in Norway, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Russia to remove dangerous nuclear objects dumped on its Arctic sea floor, The Independent Barents Observer

Sweden: Extra billions to SAS – but with stricter climate requirements, Radio Sweden

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