U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR  BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT  
ePlanning DOI-BLM-AK-F030-2016-0008-EIS (Road to Ambler)  
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Last Updated:
12/01/2017 18:47:46 MST
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Project Overview:

The project is being proposed by the Alaska Industrial and Development Export Authority (AIDEA). The project would construct a new 211-mile roadway along the southern flanks of the Brooks Range, extending west from the Dalton Highway to the south bank of the Ambler River. The road is designed as an industrial access road to provide surface transportation to the Ambler Mining District. The road would be closed to the public and would be open only to industrial traffic to support expanded exploration, mine development, and mine operations at mineral prospects throughout the District. The proposed project is named the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project.


On October 30 the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) announced it will hold a series of public meetings from mid-November through mid-December to gather vital public input on the proposed Ambler Road. The BLM is developing an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) identifying and analyzing concerns and issues associated with the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority’s proposal to build a road originating at the Dalton Highway and ending at the Ambler Mining District. The proposed road would cross state lands (61%), Native corporation lands (15%), and federal lands (24%) managed by the BLM and the National Park Service. See the Meetings page for a full schedule of the upcoming public scoping meetings. 

Project History
 
    1950s – Mineral exploration efforts since the 1950s have identified significant resources of copper and base metals in the southern flanks of the Brooks Range.
    1980 – Congress passed the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA), which acknowledged the mineral potential of the Ambler Mining District and the need for transportation access. Section 201(4)(d) provides a specific guarantee of surface transportation access to the Ambler Mining District through Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. 
    2009–2010 – Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOT&PF) began evaluating multiple road and rail routes that could provide access to Ambler Mining District.
    2013 – Project ownership was transferred from DOT&PF to Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA).
    2015 – In November 2015, AIDEA submitted a consolidated application to the BLM, National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The application requested the issuance of right-of-way grants, permits for constructing bridges over navigable waters and for filling waters of the United States, and related authorizations associated with the proposed construction and operation of an approximately 211-mile long, all-season industrial access road.
    2016 –AIDEA spent the early part of the year responding to requests for additional information after several agencies found its initial application incomplete. By June 30, 2016, AIDEA had completed its application.  
    2017 – BLM filed a Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed project in February.
    2017 – NPS began work on a separate but parallel process for an Environmental and Economic  Analysis (EEA) as directed by ANILCA Section 201(4)(d), for the road section across NPS lands.
  

 
 
 
On February 28, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) opened a 90-­day public scoping period on a proposed 211-mile controlled industrial access road in the southern foothills of the Brooks Range. The BLM published a Notice of Intent in the Federal Register to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) identifying and analyzing concerns and issues associated with a proposal to build a road originating at the Dalton Highway and ending at the Ambler Mining District.

Update to extension on 90-day comment period: After working closely with project stakeholders to schedule public meetings in communities potentially impacted by the project, the BLM has extended the current 90-day public scoping period to go until January 31, 2018.  

The purpose of the public scoping process is to determine relevant issues that will influence the scope of the EIS, including alternatives to the proposed action, and to guide the EIS process. The BLM invites the public to provide comments on scoping issues.

The Ambler Road SF-299 Application Package can be reviewed at:

1) The Documents page listed on the left side of this website

2) The BLM Alaska Public Room 
Federal Building, 1st Floor
222 W 7th Avenue 
Anchorage, AK 99513

3) Fairbanks District Office
Public Room
222 University Avenue
Fairbanks, AK 99709­-3844


You may submit comments on the proposed Ambler Road Project during the scoping period by any of the following methods:
email: blm_ak_akso_amblerroad_comments@blm.gov
fax: (907) 271­5479
mail: Attn: Ambler Road Comments
        222 West 7th Avenue, Stop #13
        Anchorage, Alaska 99513.


The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) submitted a consolidated application with the BLM, National Park Service, U.S. Coast Guard, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for rights­ of­ way, permits, and related authorizations for the proposed project. The proposal, named the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Road, would facilitate resource development and economic opportunities for the State of Alaska. Because approximately 26 miles of the proposed road would pass through a conservation system unit, the Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, the entire application process is subject to the provisions of Title XI of the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act (ANILCA).

The start of the road would be on BLM-­managed lands within the Dalton Highway Utility Corridor. The road would then extend across State-­owned lands, Gates of the Arctic National Preserve, lands privately owned by Alaska Native corporations, and isolated BLM-­managed parcels. The proposed road would cross roughly 24 miles of BLM­-managed lands in total. The road is currently considered for industrial use only and not open for public access. BLM Alaska will lead the analysis required by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) working cooperatively with other state and Federal agencies.