The proposed Ambler Road and associated mining activity would have massive and long-lasting impacts on the Northwest Arctic region. Protect the Kobuk is a growing group of local residents who believe that these impacts would be mostly negative, threatening environmental, cultural and personal values we hold dear. Despite claims by some, the Northwest Arctic region is not united in support of the Ambler Road.
We who have signed below are current residents, former residents, and tribal members of the Northwest Arctic region who oppose development of the Ambler Road. Reasons for our opposition vary from person to person, but include:
● Subsistence resources and practices would be negatively impacted by the road and mines. Caribou, sheefish, migratory birds, salmon, and other food sources would be negatively affected. The areas the road would cross are important hunting grounds and hold Iñupiaq and Athabascan historical and cultural sites.
● Communities would experience social impacts. The influx of nonlocal mining personnel could increase substance abuse and violence against women. More drugs and alcohol may be brought into the region.
● There are not adequate assurances that the road would stay permanently closed to the public. If the road were opened at some point in the future, the beauty and resources along the road’s route would undoubtedly draw intense interest from sport hunters, fishermen, and recreational users. Competition from non-local sport hunters and fishermen has been a major issue in our region for decades, and would only be made worse with road access. Harvest regulations and limits would likely become more restrictive with larger numbers of hunters and fishermen, largely impacting locals who rely on subsistence.
● The economics don’t pencil out for our region. When subsistence resources are lost the cost of imported food is astronomical. Much of the money made at the mines or road wouldn’t stay in the region.
● Pollution from the road and mines will flow downstream and impact water quality, our commercial salmon fishery and subsistence fish resources from Kobuk to Kotzebue.
● No road should be built without Alaskans knowing the full extent of this entire project, including mining. This includes the maximum number, size and types of mines that would eventually be built in the project area; the maximum number of mining personnel and human activity levels, especially traffic levels on the road, that would result; and impacts from and on communities that would connect to the road. A decision to build this road is a decision to conduct the entire project. The review must consider all factors rather than focus solely on the road.