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September 25, 2016
Governor Walker who had taken a strong stance on halting megaprojects has begun to quietly soften his stand.
“In June, when he vetoed half the Alaska Permanent Fund dividend and cut various state departments, Walker finally ended the Knik Arm crossing project and the Susitna-Watana dam. Part of the message of that event was that he would cut deeply before he would take dividend checks.
But Walker didn’t mention the last two megaprojects, the Ambler road and the Juneau Access project. Now he is seriously considering building the Juneau road.” Read the full article by Charles Wohlforth here: Walker going soft on megaprojects as Juneau road shows signs of life
July 9, 2016
Charles Wohlforth, in an opinion piece for Alaska Dispatch News, discusses the failed road to Umiat and likens it to the proposed Ambler road. He questions why the state would fund a 211 mile road that NovaCopper has not agreed to pay for, to access a mine that they have not promised to build.
“The state of Alaska spent $35 million planning a road to Umiat before the company that hoped to develop an oil field there went bankrupt in late May. We’re currently spending similar money for a 211-mile road to an uncertain development prospect in the Ambler Mining District…
I talked to David Clarke, who recently took a buyout from BP when it downsized. He managed big projects and advocated for them within the company. With oil prices down, BP needed few people to do that kind of work.
Unlike Alaska, companies trying to make a profit don’t keep paying people to work on money-losing projects..
Alaska is approaching the Amber road the same way. The project would cost about $450 million. The state has studied it for seven years at a cost of $19 million. Last October, Walker gave AIDEA approval to spend another $3.6 million on detailed work for an Environmental Impact Statement.
But NovaCopper, the company for whom the state is building the Amber road, has not decvided whether to build a mine. It signed an agreement with AIDEA specifically withholding any promise to mine or to pay for the road…”
Read the full article here: Alaska spent $35 million for a road to bankrupt development, but hasn’t learned its lesson
July 5, 2016
“A five person crew of experienced storytellers and Alaskan explorers will complete an approximate 300 mile packraft/hike through the southern half of the Brooks Range to spend time in each of the six villages for filming and interviews, and offering a lens into the complex realities of this region.
The team will use their combined talents to produce photographs, written prose and a short film, Paving Tundra, to bring awareness to the construction of a road to Ambler. These collective resources will actively address the need to protect the land and subsistence lifestyle while questioning the benefits of connecting secluded Interior villages to the road system.
This project is committed to capturing the authentic voice and accurate concerns of local communities, especially from the villages of Allakaket/Alatna, Bettles/Evansville, Shungnak, Kobuk and Ambler. These cultural and personal perspectives are critically necessary in the decision-making process of road construction.” Read more about this exciting new film project here Paving Tundra