Take a few minutes to catch up with us before your next meeting.
Photo of Walker Lake courtesy of Jayme Dittmar
Next Wednesday, Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is hosting the first public hearing for the draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Ambler Road. Please join us Thursday, November 2nd at 7pm at Raven Hall at Raven Landing, 1222 Cowles Street in Fairbanks to share your concerns and oppose the proposed road to Ambler.
In the coming days, we will provide detailed talking points and more background on the proposal, but in the meantime we recommend reviewing the following resources to prepare for next week's meeting:
Today! Arctic Fest Interest Meeting
Arctic Fest 2024 will feature three days of art, science, and Indigenous culture events and exhibits all focused on our changing climate. Get involved with planning this collaborative festival by joining us tonight and learning more.
Fill out this interest form so we can be in touch, and join us at this Zoom link from 4:00-6:00 PM today, October 26 for a virtual interest meeting.
Northern Center at Arctic Circle Assembly
Katie McClellan at Arctic Circle with Danielle Stickman of The Wilderness Society
Katie McClellan, our Mining Impacts and Energy Manager, traveled to Iceland for the 2023 Arctic Circle Assembly last week. Northern Center also helped sponsor the attendance of conservation advocates from one of our partner organizations.
Over 700 speakers participated in over 200 sessions during the three day convening. Among other takeaways, there was meaningful focus on co-production of knowledge. Several speakers discussed how to engage and work with communities in a meaningful, equitable, and non-extractive manner. Another key learning was that of One Health, or the integration of human, animal, and environmental health that for people includes cultural, physical, and mental wellbeing. This holistic and integrated approach provides a helpful framework for our advocacy at Northern Center.
We look forward to sharing more reflections from this conference as time allows amid multiple open comment periods, and encourage you to take a look at the photos and resources on the Arctic Circle website.
Latest updates on Manh Choh ore hauling
Last week, the Alaska Committee for Safe Communities (CSC) filed a lawsuit against the State of Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities (DOTPF) to stop the ore haul operation. Read the complaint and stay up to date on CSC's website.
The Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) also recently voted to ask DOTPF to pause progress on the ore hauling proposal until the TAC has finished its work and DOTPF has implemented their safety recommendations. Analysis of safety and traffic delays during wet and winter road conditions have not been completed, and Kinross has yet to agree to field testing the trucks at the Mitchell/Peger, Johansen/Peger, Johansen/Steese intersections, and the Chena Hot Springs roundabout. Additionally, DOTPF’s plans for the much needed visibility improvements, installation of additional signage for bus stops, and brush clearing have not been completed on the route.
It is unsafe and unjust for the state to continue its pursuit of this ore haul in the face of so many unanswered questions. We thank the TAC for their vote to delay the start of the ore haul, and encourage our members to press the state to comply with the TAC’s recommendations.
Virtual Night for the North
Our annual auction supports the Jim Kowalsky Youth Engagement Fund, which helps build the future of environmental conservation. Through Camp Habitat, interns, and fellowships, Northern Center helps young people connect with the land and peoples of Alaska, and introduce pathways to careers in advocacy.
This year, we're offering a virtual Night for the North fundraiser in addition to our in-person event. Donate before November 17, and you'll receive your choice of note cards featuring Jill Richie's artwork, a print from last year's featured artist Anya Toelle, or an embroidered 2023 Run for the Refuge patch (while supplies last).
Business sponsorships are also welcome as a way to support Night for the North from afar. Click here for more information or contact Christin Swearingen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oct. 30: Virtual Reality Arctic Sea Ice (Ages 10-18)
If you have tweens or teens out of school on Monday, head to the Joy Community Center Programming Room for a virtual reality film on sea ice, followed by a hands-on activity. University of Alaska researchers will be present to engage with youth and answer questions. Registration and more details are available on the library website.
Nov. 2: Western Arctic Reserve Public Hearing
Next Thursday, at 4:00 PM Alaska time, join Environment America and its partners for a virtual public hearing on the Western Arctic Reserve and its special areas. All participants are invited to provide a verbal public comment, which will be recorded and submitted to the Bureau of Land Management for the official record. For more information and registration, click here.
The Northern Alaska Environmental Center promotes conservation of the environment and sustainable resource stewardship in Interior and Arctic Alaska through education and advocacy.
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