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Denial of mining road in Alaska has ripples across U.S. national parks

  • Written by Eric Tegethoff

Washington News Service: The Biden administration has blocked a mining road in Alaska, and public-lands proponents see the move as a win for national parks around the country.

The Interior Department has denied permission for the building of the Ambler Road project, which included more than 200 miles of road through Alaska wilderness.

Alex Johnson, interior Alaska director for the National Parks Conservation Association, said a project like this could happen anywhere.

"We see this win as a huge victory for salmon and for fisheries," Johnson pointed out. "We would hope that the people of Washington are celebrating this decision on behalf of the salmon as well."

Johnson noted the decision is also a win for native communities and subsistence resources in the region. The company behind the project said the decision is a blow to revenue for local communities.

Johnson countered the action keeps a large, pristine landscape intact.

"This is a huge national parks win for the largest national park landscape in the entire system with 16 million acres of contiguous, wild, roadless parklands and over 20 million acres of national parklands in Northwest Alaska that would have been affected if this road had been built," Johnson outlined.

The mining road would have gone through the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve and potentially hurt the migration route of the western Arctic caribou. The region is also home to 66 Alaska Native communities.

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