Our team has been traveling and working hard this spring, and we're excited to share news and updates about all of our programs. We'll get right to it this week, because there's a lot to share.
Introducing Adventure Borealis
We are proud to officially launch our newest program, Adventure Borealis. This program of the Northern Center will provide natural history based excursions with a goal of creating safe, supportive spaces for communities that the outdoor industry has historically excluded.
On June 22, join us in Fairbanks for the first Adventure Borealis event hosted by Ryan Arash Marsh, where we will get the chance to spend a couple of hours enjoying the evening light and plentiful bird life adjacent to Creamer’s Field. Meet at the small parking area at the end of Henrik Court for a 7:00 PM start time. Bring your own binoculars if you have them, boots for the bog, and mosquito protection. You can register to attend on Adventure Borealis’ newly launched website.
Click here for the full article on our website, where you can get to know Program Director Ryan Marsh and how the concept for Adventure Borealis was born.
Ambler Mining Road Review Process Delayed
In case you missed it, we announced the official launch of the
Defend the Brooks Range coalition. Northern Center staff and other coalition members spent last week in DC, meeting with legislative and executive officials to discuss the dangers of the proposed Ambler Mining Road.
This week, news broke that the review process for this project is being delayed. A draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) is now scheduled to be released in the fall, followed by a final environmental impact statement in March of 2024, and a Record of Decision during the second quarter of 2024 (April-June).
Northern and its coalition partners have maintained that a thorough environmental assessment of the impacts this road would have on the Brooks Range landscape and northwestern Arctic communities cannot be completed through a rushed analysis. We are happy with DOI’s decision to extend the timeframe for analysis and urge them to use this additional time to perform a comprehensive review of all social and environmental impacts of the proposed road.
Stay up to date on how you can help on the new coalition website, where you can always learn more about the history of and threats to this region, donate to support the coalition's work, and find ways to take action.
Governor Dunleavy hosts sustainability conference, but won't commit to true sustainable futures
This week, Governor Dunleavy hosted the Alaska Sustainable Energy Conference in Anchorage. Northern Center attended and tabled at the event, but we are concerned that this is not a true commitment to a sustainable future.
"It was encouraging to hear the Governor say in his opening remarks that his administration’s values have changed, but the Northern Center would like to see true commitment to convening diverse Alaskan voices, presenting innovative and regenerative energy solutions, and promoting and committing to the policies that would make a just transition possible," said Elisabeth Balster Dabney, Executive Director of Northern Alaska Environmental Center. "Hosting a sustainable energy conference is certainly a first step in the right direction — however, many of the organizations truly working on regenerative energy and economies were tucked away downstairs, far from most conference goers, and others were not represented at all. The governor’s continued overemphasis on the continuation of fossil fuel development like natural gas would be a huge misstep for the peoples of Alaska. We hope to see our state pivot from fossil fuel dependence in the face of the climate crisis and prioritize truly sustainable energy sources."
Northern Center will continue to work with other conservation organizations and coalitions advocating for a just transition, not false solutions.
Manh Choh permits approved, highway crashes expected as ore trucking set to begin
Photo from Advocates for Safe Alaska Highways
Last week, Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Alaska Department of Natural Resources (DNR) approved the state permits for the Manh Choh project, which would involve trucking ore over 250 miles from Tetlin to For Knox for processing.
Preliminary results from Kinney Engineering’s road corridor analysis estimated an increase in crashes along the Tetlin to Fort Knox transportation route once ore-hauling trucks are introduced. Initial estimates predict a 4% increase in crashes, but by Kinney’s own admission, “those numbers could be even higher” given the lack of data on the safety of the haul trucks and the predictive methods used in his assessment.
The next Department of Transportation Technical Advisory Committee meeting in July will likely include an in-depth analysis of the impact of ore trucks on bridges along the route. We will continue to provide updates about possible action you can take, and in the meantime, we encourage you to subscribe to the Advocates for Safe Alaska Highways newsletter.
Summer volunteers wanted! We could use some Fairbanks helpers for a bi-weekly work day (Thursdays from 3:00-5:00 pm) to help clean out our basement, haul trash and recycling, and maintain our garden. If interested, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Copper has not been added to the list of critical minerals, according to a USGS decision. This is an important point as we aim to distinguish between mining strictly for profit and mining as a necessary tool of transitioning to renewable energy.
Bureau of Land Management (BLM) published a proposed rule in April that would clarify that conservation is a valid use of public lands, on par with other land uses. To read the full text of the rule and submit a comment by June 20, click here.
The United Nations is currently in the process of negotiating a global treaty on plastic pollution which aims to reduce plastic pollution and safeguard our health, oceans, and wildlife. The second round of negotiations begins in Paris, France on May 29, 2023. Former Fairbanks resident Lindsey Parkinson is hoping to gather American support for the campaign against plastic pollution, and offers some ways you can add your voice in the document linked here.
- Call for papers! The Arctic Institute is seeking writing with a Queer and Indigenous perspective on the Arctic. Learn more here and submit an abstract by June 1.
Are you getting the environmental news, action opportunities, and community you need? Please take a few minutes to fill out this survey and share your feedback with us. Thank you to all who have responded so far!
Do you have a No Road to Ambler sweatshirt or tee shirt? We'd love to see where you're wearing it. Send a photo of yourself in your No Road to Ambler sweatshirt to email@example.com and include a sentence or two about why you oppose this road. We're hoping to share images from all over Alaska in the coming months, and would love to include our Northern Center supporters. Don't have a sweatshirt yet? Get one here.
The Northern Alaska Environmental Center is a nonprofit and depends on the contributions of its members and supporters. You can donate any time by going to
northern.org/donate. Thank you for continuing to make our advocacy possible!
June 23: Solstice Picnic at Northern Center
Mark your calendars and join us for a picnic in the Northern Center's backyard on Friday, June 23, at 6:00 PM. BYOB and a side dish, and we'll provide main dishes and lawn games. We can't wait to see you all in person!
The Northern Alaska Environmental Center promotes conservation of the environment and sustainable resource stewardship in Interior and Arctic Alaska through education and advocacy.
Our Contact Information