Kodiak Daily Mirror - Lake Peninsula Borough voters say no to Pebble Mine
  
Lake-Peninsula Borough voters say no to Pebble Mine
by Becky Bohrer / Associated Press
Oct 18, 2011 | 12 views | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend | print
JUNEAU (AP) — Voters in the Lake and Peninsula 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.

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 public relations 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.
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
The Kodiak Daily Mirror encourages a lively exchange of ideas regarding topics in the news. Users are solely responsible for the content. Please keep it clean, respect others and use the 'report abuse' link when necessary. Read our full user's agreement.
Search Our Marketplace
or Search by category