Final Environmental Impact Statement Filed for the Ambler Access Road
Trilogy Metals commented on the public release of the Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) by the US Bureau of Land Management (BLM) for the Ambler Mining District Industrial Access Project (AMDIAP or Ambler Access Road).
The Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) initially submitted its application to develop the 211-mile Ambler road project in November 2015. BLM, the lead federal agency for the permitting of the AMDIAP, released the Final EIS for the AMDIAP on August 30, 2019 and held 22 public meetings in affected communities, Anchorage, Fairbanks, and Washington, DC. AIDEA estimates the Ambler road project would create an estimated 486 construction and 68 permanent jobs, with more jobs created and supported by world-class mining projects in the Ambler district.
“I would like to congratulate the BLM for getting the Final EIS over the line,” James Gowans, interim President and CEO of Trilogy Metals, commented. “The completion of the Final EIS marks a critical milestone for the permitting process of the Ambler road which will unlock the incredible mineral potential of the Ambler Mining District. Trilogy, through its joint venture company, Ambler Metals LLC, is already discussing the next steps for the financing and development of the road with the Alaska Industrial Development Export Authority. The mandate of AIDEA is to advance economic growth and diversification in Alaska by providing various means of financing and investment.”
The final step in the permitting process for the AMDIAP is the issuance of the Record of Decision by the BLM and the issuance of the Clean Water Act (CWA) Section 404 permit from the United States Army Corps of Engineers. Trilogy expects these two items to be issued concurrently within the next couple of months.
Members of Alaska’s congressional delegation also weighed in on the subject.
“I welcome BLM’s final EIS as a key step for an important project that will create good jobs for Alaskans, but [sic] continue to emphasize the importance of stakeholder engagement to ensure local voices are heard,” Senator Lisa Murkowski said. “Projects like this will open the door to responsible resource development that will ultimately enhance our mineral security, boost the state economy, and create economic opportunity for the region. As the review process nears its conclusion, I encourage BLM and the project sponsors to redouble their efforts to engage with local stakeholders and to reflect their input in the final project.”
“I applaud the BLM for reaching this milestone in the process for development of the road, which will provide limited transportation access to the Ambler Mining District to support mining operations,” Senator Dan Sullivan said. “Going forward, the BLM must continue to engage with local communities and Alaska Native leaders to ensure the subsistence and other resource needs of these communities are protected. Now more than ever, it’s imperative that we continue to advance projects like this one, which can lead to economic opportunities and good paying jobs for Alaskans.”
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Alaska’s Giving Pipeline
Few large foundations support “the general good” or social service projects in Alaska, so the Last Frontier has a pretty thin philanthropic layer, according to United Way of Anchorage Vice President Cassandra Stalzer. However, the oil and gas industry has a history of stepping in and filling the gaps in Alaska communities by providing money and volunteers for myriad charitable efforts in the state.