Petitioners gathering signatures to put the Bristol Bay Forever Initiative on the Alaska statewide ballot in August 2014 say they now have more than enough signers who are registered voters but they haven’t stopped yet.
As of Sept. 13, support for the initiative to protect wild salmon and waters within the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve had reached 30,169 signatures, according to Art Hackney, owner of an Anchorage communications firm, who is overseeing the petition drive.
The initiative, if approved in a statewide election next Aug. 19, would require legislative approval for certain large scale mines, in addition to permits and authorizations otherwise required by law. The initiative states, “a final authorization must be obtained from the Legislature for a large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation located within the watershed of the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve…. The Authorization shall take the form of a duly enacted law finding that the proposed large-scale metallic sulfide mining operation will not constitute danger to the fishery within the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve,” the initiative said.
A complete copy of the initiative is online at http://www.renewableresourcescoalition.org/newsroom
Alaska Lt. Gov. Mead Treadwell certified the citizen initiative on Dec. 20, 2012, after which petition booklets were prepared by the state Division of Elections and delivered to initiative sponsors John Holman of King Salmon, Mark Niver of Wasilla, and Christina Salmon of Igiugig.
Meanwhile, backers of the 2011 Save Our Salmon initiative, which passed earlier in the Lake and Peninsula Borough, were waiting along with state and Pebble mine officials for an opinion from Anchorage Superior Court Judge John Suddock on the legality of the Save Our Salmon initiative.
Suddock heard arguments from both sides, including Lake and Peninsula Borough representatives, in his courtroom in Anchorage in early September, and a decision was expected soon. Lake and Peninsula Borough’s land area includes the site of the proposed copper, gold and molybdenum mine proposed by the Pebble Partnership, which is owned in a joint venture by mining interests in Vancouver, British Columbia, and London.