Fishing net in the water.

NANA’s Position on AAP

Ambler Access Project

Evaluation. Consultation. Balance.

Background 

NANA Regional Corporation, Inc. (NANA) has a longstanding commitment to responsible resource development while safeguarding the Iñupiat way of life in Northwest Alaska. This has guided our approach to projects like the Ambler Access Project (AAP), spearheaded by the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA), which proposes a 211-mile private controlled industrial access gravel road connecting the Ambler Mining District and the Dalton Highway.

The Evaluation Process 

From the outset, NANA recognized the significance of AAP and initiated a comprehensive evaluation process. We engaged with our shareholders, representing diverse perspectives across our 11 communities, to gather input and establish clear criteria for project consideration. These criteria include controlled and permitted access, protection of vital subsistence resources, job creation, and community benefits. 

Our evaluation encompassed a range of activities, including participation in BLM-led discussions, independent studies, and consultation with stakeholders. We facilitated numerous listening sessions to ensure all voices were heard, reflecting our commitment to inclusive decision-making. 

Key Milestones 

Over time, NANA issued AIDEA a three-year land use permit, enabling further evaluation while maintaining control over our lands. This permit, not a right of way or easement, signified our dedication to informed decision-making and collaboration. 

As the project progressed, NANA remained vigilant in scrutinizing each development stage. We diligently reviewed the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) and awaited the Final SEIS, anticipating critical insights to inform our position. 

The Decision 

On May 2, 2024, following an assessment of the Final SEIS and broader project considerations, NANA’s board of directors made the decision to withdraw from further involvement in AAP. This choice reflects our commitment to our criteria, concerns about project alignment with our values, and a lack of meaningful consultation.

The criteria NANA established to consider supporting AAP, including controlled access, protection of caribou migration routes and subsistence resources, job creation and community benefits, remain insufficiently addressed by AIDEA. Furthermore, NANA is concerned with the positions BLM’s final SEIS, which in our view goes beyond the law in several aspects.

Board Chair Gia Hanna emphasized our duty to steward ancestral lands, while President & CEO John Lincoln underscored the importance of trust in development projects. Moving forward, NANA will uphold its role as an active participant in public processes, advocating for our shareholders’ interests and asserting our rights as an Alaska Native Regional Corporation. 

Looking Ahead 

While AAP may not align with our current stance, NANA remains open to future opportunities that honor our values and prioritize community well-being. Our decision underscores the importance of responsible development and the imperative of preserving our cultural heritage for generations to come. 

Resources:  

Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS)  

NANA’s Comments on the Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS)  

Frequently Asked Questions

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