Alaska voters say no to gold, copper mine

Here’s a story from Becky Bohrer of the Associated Press on a measure that would prevent a proposed pebble mine in Alaska opposed by environmentalists.

Voters of a small southwest Alaska borough narrowly passed a measure blocking a proposed gold and copper mine that conservationists said would have threatened one of the world’s premier wild salmon fisheries in a local election that gained national attention, pitting environmental and business interests on opposing sides.

The vote bans large-scale resource extraction — including mining — that would destroy or degrade salmon habitat. The measure was aimed squarely at Pebble Mine, a massive gold and copper operation planned near the headwaters of Bristol Bay and one of the world’s premier wild salmon fisheries.

Unofficial results, released by the Lake and Peninsula Borough clerk late Monday, showed 280 in favor of the measure and 246 against.

The proposal, like the project itself, was the subject of an intense PR campaign on both sides. And the vote is unlikely to be the last word on whether, or how, the mine is built — a court challenge has already been filed.

Pebble Limited Partnership, the group promoting the project, has argued, in part, that the measure would improperly bypass the role of the local planning commission. The office of Alaska’s attorney general has said the initiative would enact an ordinance that is “unenforceable as a matter of law.”

A judge has put the case on hold until Nov. 7.

Pebble spokesman Mike Heatwole said the company would press ahead with its plans, in spite of the vote and passage of what he said company officials believe to be an illegal law.

Voters were “subjected to a prolonged advertising campaign of fear-mongering and misinformation about the Pebble project,” he said in a statement. “We believe this has done a disservice to the people of Southwest Alaska and we will continue our efforts to share our perspective that Pebble can be done safely to co-exist with clean water, healthy fisheries and traditional ways of life, while generating decades of economic and social benefits for the people of the region.”

Pebble Mine would be located 200 miles southwest of Anchorage and has been described as potentially the world’s largest man-made excavation. Though project officials have said repeatedly that Pebble hasn’t completed a pre-feasibility study or formally submitted a mine plan, critics say the potential footprint of the project could cover 15 square miles, with an open pit and network of roads and power lines, and could disrupt, if not destroy, a way of life in rural Alaska.

Jackie Hobson, a supporter of the so-called Save Our Salmon Initiative, said the results “prove once and for all that Native Alaskans will not allow important salmon habitat to be destroyed for the sake of enriching foreign corporations.”

The mine is a joint venture of Canada-based Northern Dynasty Minerals Ltd. and Anglo American plc of the United Kingdom.

The election was conducted by mail, with ballots having to be postmarked by Oct. 4; officials counted them Monday.

Talk to us

More in Sports

University of Washington Men's Soccer team plays UCLA at home on September 22, 2019.
Community sports roundup: Bartlow picked 6th in MLS draft

The UW defender and south Snohomish County native was selected by the Houston Dynamo.

Los Angeles Rams pass game coordinator Shane Waldron is seen before the NFL football NFC championship game against the New Orleans Saints Sunday, Jan. 20, 2019, in New Orleans. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
Report: Seahawks to hire Rams’ Waldron as new O-coordinator

The 41-year-old was L.A.’s pass-game coordinator for the past three seasons under coach Sean McVay.

FILE - Seattle Seahawks offensive tackle Chad Wheeler (75) is shown before an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta, in this Sunday, Sept. 13, 2020, file photo. The Seattle Seahawks said Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, that offensive lineman Chad Wheeler is no longer a member of the team following his arrest last weekend for investigation of domestic violence. (AP Photo/Danny Karnik, File)
Seahawks cut ties with Wheeler after domestic-violence arrest

The offensive lineman, who was set to become a free agent in March, was charged with three felonies.

Seattle Sounders sporting director Chris Henderson greets a player after a soccer training session Monday, Feb. 22, 2016, in Seattle. The Sounders play Club America in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal round on Tuesday. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Opportunity too good for Cascade High grad to pass up

Former soccer standout Chris Henderson looks forward to new position with Inter Miami

Is Mike Hopkins the right coach for the University of Washington men’s baskethall program’s long-term future? (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
POLL: Is Mike Hopkins the right coach for UW hoops?

The Huskies have seen both tremendous highs and discouraging lows during Hopkins’ four-year tenure.

Left, Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes celebrates with Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce (87) and teammates after the AFC championship NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday in Kansas City, Missouri. The Chiefs won 38-24 (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson). Right, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady celebrates with his teammates after winning the NFC championship NFL football game against the Green Bay Packers in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Sunday. The Buccaneers defeated the Packers 31-26 (AP Photo/Jeffrey Phelps).
Old (Brady), young (Mahomes), different Super Bowl 55 awaits

Only 22,000 will be let in the stadium, with vaccinated health-care workers getting 7,500 of the tickets.

Seattle Mariners starting pitcher Kendall Graveman, left, throws to Houston Astros' Alex Bregman during the first inning of a baseball game Monday, July 27, 2020, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
Mariners spent offseason building a better bullpen

Seattle added experienced arms to a group that has struggled mightily the past two seasons.

A flag with the new logo for the newly-named Seattle NHL team, the Seattle Kraken, flies atop the iconic Space Needle Thursday, July 23, 2020, in Seattle. The hockey expansion franchise unveiled its nickname Thursday, ending 19 months of speculation about whether the team might lean traditional or go eccentric with the name for the league's 32nd team. Seattle's colors are a deep dark blue with a lighter shade of blue as a complement. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Kraken games to be televised on ROOT Sports

The expansion franchise also hires John Forslund as its new television play-by-play announcer.

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver DK Metcalf (14) runs with the ball as New York Jets inside linebacker Harvey Langi gives chase during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 13, 2020, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Seahawks position overview: Wide receiver

DK Metcalf and Tyler Lockett are a winning duo, but Seattle may need more at receiver.

Most Read