Senate Dems vote against Interior on Alaska mining road

By Hannah Northey | 07/11/2024 07:03 AM EDT

Several Democrats supported a rider favoring the Ambler Road project opposed by the Biden administration.

Sen. Mark Kelly (D-Ariz.).

Arizona Sen. Mark Kelly was part of a group of Democrats who supported an amendment favoring the Ambler mining road project in Alaska. Stephanie Scarbrough/AP

A group of Senate Democrats broke with the Biden administration last month to push approval of a contentious mining road in Alaska. It may have been a mistake.

The Senate Armed Services Committee — during a closed-door markup — attached an amendment from Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Alaska) to its fiscal 2025 National Defense Authorization Act favoring the Ambler road. The panel released vote tallies this week.

Five Democrats and two independents who caucus with Democrats joined Republicans in moving to reverse the Interior Department’s decision to block the 211-mile-long project, which would cut through the Brooks Range and the Gates of the Arctic National Park and Preserve. Opponents have expressed concern about salmon and caribou populations.


Sullivan said last month the amendment would force Interior to find a “viable path” for the roadway and would not hurt Alaska Native lands.