The Biden administration is reportedly on the verge of giving environmentalists a huge victory by rejecting a key roadway needed to access mineral deposits in Alaska, according to The New York Times.

The Department of the Interior (DOI) is poised to shoot down a mining company’s request to build a 211-mile long road through a remote region of Alaska that would be needed to access copper deposits potentially worth $7.5 billion, according to the Times, which granted individuals familiar with the decision anonymity to speak freely about the subject. The roadway — known as the Ambler Access Project — was a prospective first step toward mining the copper reserves, but environmental activists have long opposed the road because of the disturbances it could cause to the wilderness and Native American tribes by extension. 

 

The DOI could announce as early as this week that there ought to be “no action” taken on the federally-controlled land through which the road would run, and an official rejection of the project is expected to come later in 2024, according to the Times. After drawing their ire for approving ConocoPhillips’ massive Willow Project oil development in Alaska in 2023, the Biden administration has handed the environmentalist movement major victories in Alaska in recent months, including the cancellation of previously-awarded oil and gas lease sales, major restrictions on drilling activity in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and a reportedly forthcoming crackdown on oil and gas in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska.

The Trump administration had formerly approved the road’s construction, but the DOI effectively scrapped the Trump administration’s underlying analysis and ordered a fresh review after Biden came into office, according to the Times.

The company pushing for the road, Ambler Metals, has previously stated that the copper it would extract from the development would be used to build many of the key green technologies that President Joe Biden is relying on to realize his administration’s massive climate agenda, according to the Times. Some of these products include transmission lines, wind turbines and photovoltaic cells.

China dominates the global supply chain and refining capacity for many of the key minerals necessary to build the green infrastructure pushed by the Biden administration.

Between recent decisions in Alaska and January’s announcement of a pause on new liquefied natural gas (LNG) export terminals, Biden and his appointees appear to be making an effort to shore up his climate credentials as the 2024 election cycle ramps up, according to the Times. While Biden’s climate and conservation agenda does not seem to be resonating with most swing state voters, it is likely to please the well-funded environmental lobby and its activist voters, which figure to be key bastions of support for Biden’s reelection bid.

The DOI declined to comment, while the White House and Ambler Metals did not respond immediately to requests for comment.

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