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ANCHORAGE, ALASKA-The Alaska Supreme Court ruled Wednesday to allow the "Save Our Salmon" initiative to be placed on the Lake and Peninsula Borough's October 4th ballot. This follows a decision made by Dillingham Superior Court Judge John Suddock also allowing the initiative to proceed.
The initiative would, if passed, change borough law on the peninsula. It would make it illegal for the borough to grant permits to any large scale extraction projects that would have significant adverse effects on salmon streams. The initiative also would give the public the ability to obtain court review of the permitting process.
The passage of this initiative would effectively hobble the efforts of the Pebble mine project, where exploration work is still on-going, and if allowed to continue to fruition, would result in the largest open pit mine on the continent of North America. Anglo-American and Northern Dynasty have budgeted $91 million towards the project this year alone.
All polls taken within the state of Alaska in recent months have shown that supporters of the Pebble Mine are in the minority, yet, Alaska’s Governor Parnell had filed an Amicus Brief earlier this month, on behalf of the people of Alaska. In his brief he sided with the foreign-owned Pebble mine, with the hopes of stifling the vote of the peninsula people.
Earlier this summer, he allowed Coastal Zone Management to dissolve after refusing to work with the legislature to come up with a funding solution for that program. That program also would have allowed local input into the permitting process.