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AIDEA, tribal and village leadership hear public testimony on proposed Ambler mining road

Fairbanks, AK -  Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority held a two-day meeting this week in Fairbanks. AIDEA is working on an application to begin the permitting process for an industrial road that would access the Ambler mining district.

The process requires a federal Environmental Impact Statement –that could take years. Mike Catsi is AIDEA’s Business Development and Communications Director. He said the $26.25 million in state funding that has already been spent has gone toward early baseline studies.

“To go into an EIS process, you need to collect a whole bunch of baseline data on the environment," Casti said. "On subsistence resources, cultural resources, socio-economic resources, so you really need to do a baseline study of the region before you move forward and then determine what the effects will be.”

This week in Fairbanks, AIDEA invited leadership and representatives from tribes and villages along the proposed 220-mile road corridor to discuss concerns about the road. A similar meeting was held in Kotzebue this summer.

Members of the public were invited to provide testimony Wednesday.  During the public comment period, the majority of those who testified said they opposed the project. But some also  said they’d like to see the Environmental Impact Study process move forward, before drawing conclusions.