Alaska lawmakers join legal fight over gold mine

By Hannah Northey | 04/24/2024 01:40 PM EDT

The state’s bipartisan delegation supports the Donlin open-pit gold mine, despite a push from tribes to pull Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola to oppose to the Trump-approved project.

Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska).

Alaska Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola and the state's two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, filed a legal brief supporting a gold mine project in the state. Francis Chung/POLITICO

This story was updated at 3:19 p.m. EDT.

Alaska lawmakers still fuming over the Biden administration’s rejection of the Ambler mining road are now fighting in court to advance a separate mining project in the state — potentially one of the largest open-pit gold mines in the world — despite tribal pushback.

Republican Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan and Democratic Rep. Mary Peltola told the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska in a filing Tuesday that the Donlin gold mine, a massive mine slated to be built in the remote southwestern part of the state, was appropriately reviewed and approved under the Trump administration. They said the decision doesn’t need to be revisited.


Calling the mine “one of the most important pending economic development prospects” in the state, the lawmakers warned that blocking development of the mine would stymie Native Alaskans’ ability to use the resources there and violate federal law.