...and all you need to know about Northern's programs this week.
Earlier this year, Northern Center and our partners launched the Defend the Brooks Range coalition to protect the future of Alaska’s Brooks Range. With the support of True Blue Strategies, we are working side by side with local, state, and national conservation and justice organizations, Tribal consortiums, and regional community members to prevent development of the proposed Ambler mining road and subsequent mining projects in the heart of the Brooks Range. Recently, coalition members traveled to Kotzebue for meetings and radio interviews about the potential impacts of the proposed road to Ambler.
Now, we need you. As we approach the next stage in this process, it is essential that more of the general public learns about what is at stake in the Brooks Range, and how we can protect this biodiverse and sacred region. The Department of the Interior is expected to release a draft supplemental environmental impact statement (SEIS) this fall. This will open a comment period, and we must be prepared to submit substantive comments during a short period of time. We urge you to keep up with our newsletter and blog posts, join us for informational meetings and events, and follow the Defend the Brooks Range social media accounts (Twitter; Facebook; Instagram).
For more information on the current status of this work, read the full article and listen to the radio interview on our website.
Next month, join us for a weekend of film, music, and learning. Below is a first look at the schedule -- mark your calendars!
Friday, August 25
4:30 PM: Mushroom Foray with Fungi Fest
- 6 PM: conservation film screening at West Valley PAC
- 7 PM: Fungi Fest lecture with Dr. Laursen at Murie Science Center
Saturday, August 26
- 9 AM: Mushroom Survey with Fungi Fest
- 10 AM: Berry picking walk with Adventure Borealis
- 1-4 PM: Currant Festival at the UAF Georgeson Botanical Garden, featuring a cooking demonstration from Indigenous chef Flora Deacon
- 6 PM: Concert at West Valley PAC
Sunday, August 27
- 9 AM: Children's guided mushroom walk
- 11-5 PM: Fungi Fest main event in Ester Community Park
Graphite One awarded federal funding
despite local concerns
Photo: Katie McClellan
Earlier this month, Graphite One was awarded $37.5 million by the U.S. Department of Defense in support of its feasibility study. This proposed mine, which would threatens the health of local waters, salmon, and other subsistence resources.
"We are extremely disappointed to learn of the award of $37.5 million from the U.S. Government to Graphite One to advance graphite mining near Nome," said Elisabeth Balster Dabney, Executive Director for the Northern Alaska Environmental Center. "The announcement comes just days after local tribes moved to protect the watersheds that are threatened by Graphite One through instream flow reservation permits. The Department of Defense and Alaska Delegation have shown that once again, they value extraction over local food security and ecosystem abundance."
Green energy is not green when the mining used to procure minerals is dirty. We recognize the need to transition to cleaner sources of energy to mitigate the worst impacts of climate change, but it is of utmost importance that the extraction of these minerals is done with the consent and collaboration of the communities who would be most closely impacted. The lack of tribal consultation throughout the exploration & funding process for Graphite One so far demonstrates a lack of due diligence, community care, or recognition of tribes as sovereign governments on the part of both the mining company & the federal government.
Manh Choh ore trucking proposal deep dive
This week, Grist published an article detailing the risks of the Manh Choh ore trucking proposal. The piece follows several of the people and communities who would be impacted by this project, and highlights issues with the review and permitting process. From the article:
Kinross’ contracted trucking company, Black Gold Transport, will use customized 95-foot tractor-trailers with 16 axles, which will weigh 80 tons apiece when fully loaded. These trucks will soon rumble by homes and businesses every 12 minutes, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with trial runs starting this summer. “It sounded pretty crazy at the time, moving a mountain from one area of Alaska to another,” [Barbara Schuhmann] recalls. “It just seemed unbelievable that this would be allowed without special permitting and safety considerations.”
Are you concerned about the ore haul proposal associated with the Manh Choh mine? Advocates for Safe Alaska Highways is circulating a petition opposing the transportation plan. Several hundred folks have signed up already! If you’d like to add your signature, here are dates/locations of signing opportunities:
- July 29, day table, Tanana Valley State Fair (in the blue Borealis building)
- August 5, day table, Tanana Valley State Fair (in the blue Borealis building)
- Salcha Store, anytime the store is open
Delta IGA, anytime the store is open
- Delta Building Supply, anytime the store is open
If you’re unable to make it to any of these signing opportunities, email email@example.com to receive a printable copy or request an in-person pickup. If you’ve been collecting signatures, please contact ASAH at the email above to arrange pickup of your sheets.
Northern Center is hiring! We are continuing to accept applications for our Arctic Program Coordinator position. For a full job description and information on how to apply, see our website.
This week, Trustees for Alaska submitted a brief in our lawsuit challenging the Biden administration's approval of the Willow project. The brief reiterated legal violations made by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management.
Read this article in Nevada Current to learn more about how historic and current extraction practices harm Indigenous communities and uphold the status quo, and hear what a future with free, prior, and informed consent realistically could look like. Kate Finn, Osage, First Peoples Worldwide, says "We have to acknowledge that consultation policies are not comprehensive enough to cover all of the risks of mining. We need to understand that those past patterns of engagement will repeat unless they are changed. So I think we have to understand that there’s not going to be trust that mining is clean or that mining is for a good purpose."
Proposed revisions to the Indian Arts and Crafts Act would enable mass-produced cultural heritage items to be sold as authentically "Alaska Native" and "Indian" artwork, hurting the livelihoods of Indigenous artists and craftspeople. Comments on this proposal will be accepted until Friday, September 1 by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about this proposal, click here.
- Want to represent Defend the Brooks Range wherever you go? The coalition’s Bonfire store is now up & running! You can order tshirts, sweatshirts, and other items to wear and share the message that Brooks Range communities and ecosystems must be protected from the proposed Ambler Road.
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!
August 19: Dance for the Domes with The Flyers!
Save Our Domes is hosting a fundraiser to support their efforts combating proposed mineral development in neighborhoods & beloved recreation areas in the hills surrounding Fairbanks. Join the community group at Ken Kunkel Community Center in Goldstream on August 19th from 7-10 pm to celebrate our beloved domes with music, dancing, food, information, & fundraising. Suggested donation is $10-20 at the door.
August 30: Adventure Borealis Mushroom Walk
Join mycologist Christin Swearingen on a fun mushroom walk in the forest trails of Birch Hill Recreation Area. You can discover more about the jobs mushrooms do in the ecosystem, learn how to recognize certain edible and poisonous species, and be delighted by the tiny details of the fungal world that will change how you view the forest forever! We will be walking (very) short distances on well-packed trails. Register here.
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