Peltola walks back her support for Ambler mine access | #alaska | #politics

Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Rep. Mary Peltola

Rep. Mary Peltola threw her staff under the bus during a radio interview on Tuesday, saying she did not approving her name being put on a press released that was published by the Alaska delegation, which favors the construction of the Ambler Access Project, a road to a state-owned mining district.

In speaking to KNOM’s Ben Townsend, Peltola said she is not in favor of the road.

“I’m really glad you asked about this, Ben, because I actually did not approve my name being on that press release. I was traveling, I had been in Naknek for a bit and then Kotzebue yesterday, here in Nome today. I don’t think Senator Murkowski had signed off on that either,” she said.

In fact, the press release had come out of Murkowski’s office.

It is still among press releases listed at the official office website of Peltola.

“We do typically work as a team, I think our delegation works better than any other delegation, certainly better than any other bipartisan delegation. But we’re not in alignment on every single thing,” Peltola said.

“I really have heard a lot of new developments coming from the region on Ambler and the Ambler Road. NANA has taken a step back and said, “We’ve asked the proponents for six assurances, we’ve asked ADA for six assurances we can’t get one,” and that is pause for concern,” Peltola said.

“I do want to listen to the people of the region. I think it is still a controversial project. And even if I was all in, I don’t think we’re at that point. I think that this project really has hit a pause button so that we can learn more about it. And there’s more time for the proponents to have outreach with the stakeholders,” she said.

In her original quote in the June 28 news release, Peltola said, “All too often, promises made to Alaska Natives by Congress haven’t been kept; this decision is in contradiction to ANILCA. There’s a path forward where local buy-in for this project is real and sustainable. As we continue to work through NDAA, we will seek to affirm permanent private road access that will make these resources available in a way that works for stakeholders in the area.”

Later, her staff issued a clarification:

On July 7 Mary Peltola’s team issued the follow clarification regarding her remarks on Ambler Road: 

“She was specifically referring to a Sullivan-authored amendment that she was not consulted on. I want to note that because it was Sullivan’s amendment, that is also why she mentioned Lisa Murkowski. The amendment would require Interior to select Alternative A or Alternative B from its SEIS as the preferred alternative for Ambler, either of which would ensure that the project can proceed. That amendment was mentioned in relation to Sullivan in the press release she refers to–hence the confusion.

As she says in her quote within the release, Rep. Peltola believes that all too often, promises made to Alaska Natives by Congress haven’t been kept and that this decision is in contradiction to ANILCA. During NDAA conference, she is focused on making sure that whatever final language may make it into the bill works for stakeholders in the region and that any road is private.”

Peltola must have forgotten about a press release from December that she was part of that also stated the entire delegation’s disappointment and frustration with the Department of the Interior’s “politicization and continued delay of the Ambler Access Project (AAP), which is needed to facilitate road access to the world-class Ambler Mining District in northwest Alaska.”

Peltola had this week announced that she was not going to be in Washington, D.C. this week because she wants to fill her freeze with fish, so she’ll be fishing instead.

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