Please join us in protecting our lands, waters, and the health of Alaska Native communities. For present and future generations, we need to protect these beautiful and critical places from exploitation and extraction!
ANCSA 17(d)(1) Withdrawals Draft EIS
The Bureau of Land Management is receiving public comments on the ANCSA (Alaska Native Claims Settlement Act) 17(d)(1) Withdrawals Draft Environmental Impact Statement until February 14, 2024, at 10 pm AKST. Nearly 28 million acres of “D-1 lands” across Alaska are being evaluated concerning potential impacts of removing protections by changing their withdrawn status to mineral priority status. Removing these protections will significantly restrict subsistence uses for up to 127 communities across Alaska within Bristol Bay, Bering Sea Western Interior, East Alaska, Kobuk Seward, and the Ring of Fire regions.
The industrialization of protected lands fails to acknowledge that the mining of metals threatens public health by exposing Indigenous people to heavy metals and other toxic substances. Extraction of oil and gas also threatens the health of the land, waters, and people with increased risk of spills, hazardous air emissions, discharge of hazardous substances to water, and noise and disturbances of migratory pathways. The long-term harms to lands, waters, and public health outweigh temporary profit. Protecting our lands and waters are important to the health of ecosystems, wildlife, and Alaska Native communities. ACAT supports the Alternative A “No Action Alternative” and the continued protection of these essential and life-sustaining lands.
The subsistence way of life is essential to our Alaska Native cultures and should be protected as such by the law. Rural communities in Alaska cannot survive without adequate access to subsistence resources. Most Alaskan communities are off the road system and rely on harvesting food from the lands and waters for physical, spiritual, and cultural sustenance. Storm events are becoming more frequent and intense as the Arctic is warming at a rate nearly four times as fast as the rest of the planet. Heavy storms ground airplanes for weeks at a time that carry freight, leaving rural communities cut off from supply chains that provide basic groceries. During storms, Indigenous people are forced to share whatever flour, sugar, dry goods, eggs, and milk they have left. Freezers full of caribou, salmon, and plants they harvested over the seasons are essential to survival. The loss of subsistence priority will be detrimental for Alaska Native families all over the state.
Key consequences of removing protections
• Threatens Indigenous ways of life and our right to subsist
• Disrupts caribou migration pathways across the state
• Adversely affects wetlands, rivers, and streams that serve as vital habitat for salmon and other fish, birds, and other wildlife
• Can lead to intensive industrial development of remote and rural areas
• Mining and other industrial extraction threaten clean water, wildlife, and people
Please join us in submitting your comments today. Your voice matters. You can help protect our lands, waters, and the health of Alaska Native communities. For present and future generations, we need to protect these beautiful and critical places from exploration and extraction!
Opportunities to Participate
There are two ways to participate in the draft EIS public comment period.
1. Submit your written comment to voice support for the “No Action Alternative”. You can use our guide to help write your comment and submit it through the form below.
2. Attend a public hearing. The dates and locations of public meetings/ANILCA 810 Subsistence Hearings around the state of Alaska can be found on the BLM website.
Key points to include
• Access to clean water is important for fish, wildlife, and people for safe drinking water and habitat
• Fossil fuel and mining leasing and extraction increases the risk of contamination
• Industrialization would pollute the air, water and wildlife threatening communities that rely on the land
• Our subsistence way of life is an essential element of culture and should be protected as such by the law
• Climate warming increases food insecurity with disruption
• More frequent and intense storms from climate warming leave rural communities cut off from supply chains that provide basic groceries
• We are responsible for protecting future generations from environmental contamination
• Exposure to heavy metals and other toxic substances has long-term effects on public health
• Alaska is home to some of the rarest and most unique wildlife in the world. Our lands and waters provide vital habitat for an incredible diversity of birds and wildlife
• The Western Arctic Caribou Herd, critical to the health of the ecosystem and communities of the north, has been declining in the last few years due to changing weather and industrial infrastructure
• We need to protect fragile and endangered species from industrialization of rural lands