Featured Photo: Lynn Cornberg

Fairbanks residents have the opportunity to share concerns and ask questions about the Draft Alaska-Richardson-Steese Corridor Action Plan (ARS CAP), often referred to as the Manh Choh ore haul plan, at a meeting hosted by the Alaska Department of Transportation and Kinney Engineering.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 1, 2024

TIME: 5:30-8pm

WHERE: Carlson Center (2010 2nd Ave, Fairbanks, AK)

In Northern Center’s initial statement on the ore haul proposal, we asserted that the haul would burden the surrounding communities with noise, fugitive dust, water pollution from spills, further compromise air quality in non-attainment zones, and impact wildlife habitat, among other issues. Today, we stand by these assertions.

While we recognize that some mining produces minerals important to our society, extracting gold ore does not further climate or clean energy goals. Resource development must consider community well-being and social justice in order to support and enrich people, cultures, and wildlife that depend on the lands of northern Alaska. 

Kinross proposed the ore haul as a way to “reduce overall environmental impact”, but this industrial development effectively expands those impacts across 250 miles to the many communities between the mine in Tetlin and the mill at Fort Knox. The operation began almost six months ago, bringing noise, dust, mud, and severe road damage along the route. The Draft ARS CAP offers insufficient data to show that this ore haul can continue ramping up without compromising safety and health. 

We encourage folks to come out and speak to concerns about environmental impacts, increased safety risks, and lack of government accountability:

  • An environmental impact statement has never been done for the Fort Knox site and will not be done to evaluate the entire Manh Choh mine project’s environmental impacts, with this study doing little to fill in gaps left by state agencies.
  • Manh Choh ore poses significant risk of acid-generation and heavy metal leaching. The transportation plan does not detail spill response.
  • The plan makes an unsatisfactory claim that fugitive dust is not a concern (p. 146, section 10.2.1). Mud being tracked outside of the mine for many miles expands the source of dust beyond the loads themselves.
  • The significant increase in frequency of heavy trucks predicts an additional 10 severe or fatal crashes per year, contradicting the DOT mandate ‘Towards Zero Deaths’. Kinney admits this is underestimated on page 91.
  • Recommendations, costs, and timelines should be clearly stated in their executive summary instead of buried in a 258-page technical document. 
  • The general public has been minimally informed and engaged during the two-year process of this corridor action plan.

If you can’t make it in person, written comments are being accepted until May 17 and can be sent to comments@akrichsteese.com.