Environmental groups sue Trump administration over approval of Ambler Road

Aerial view of Ambler and the Kobuk River in the summer. (Courtesy of the National Park Service via UAF Gates of the Arctic Research Portal)

Nine environmental groups are suing the Trump administration for approving the 211-mile Ambler Road project. 

On July 23, the federal Bureau of Land Management approved a route for the controversial project, a private-access gravel road that would extend from the Dalton Highway to the Ambler Mining District in Northwest Alaska. Mining companies hope to use the road to access deposits of copper and other metals in the mining district, then to truck ore out. The road has drawn concerns from environmentalists over impacts to subsistence hunting in the region, as well as crossing through Gates of the Arctic National Preserve. 

In a lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Alaska Tuesday, plaintiffs wrote that federal agencies failed to comply with several acts, among them the Clean Water Act, the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act and the National Environmental Policy Act, when pushing the project along. 

The suit also named the Coast Guard as a defendant, due to their permitting of several bridges for the project.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Wesley Early is a reporter with Alaska Public Media, covering municipal politics and Anchorage life.

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