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Court Rules Borough Unlawfully Threw Out Votes for SOS Initiative

Law banning Pebble Mine passed despite voter disenfranchisement

 

 

ANCHORAGE, Alaska - Alaskans for Bristol Bay today announced Judge John Suddock has ruled the the Assembly of the Lake and Peninsula Borough unlawfully denied several borough residents the right to vote on the Save Our Salmon (SOS) initiative. Despite one percent of the local electorate being improperly disenfranchised, the initiative passed in October 2011.

"We are pleased the court recognized the legal rights of Lake and Peninsula Borough residents," said George Jacko, Executive Director of Alaskans for Bristol Bay. "It is unfortunate that these votes for the Save Our Salmon initiative will never be counted. This was a blatant effort by Pebble Mine supporters to disenfranchise Alaska voters who disagreed with the placement of the world's largest gold and fifth largest copper mine at the headwaters of Bristol Bay."

Judge Suddock rejected the Borough's claim that the votes were discarded on the grounds that the individuals were not legal Lake and Peninsula voters, despite being long-time residents. These voters were also vocal opponents of the proposed Pebble Mine. If added to the original count, these votes would bring the SOS initiative's total margin of passage up to 54 percent.

The SOS initiative amended the Borough's development permitting code to prevent the advancement of any large-scale resource extraction activity, including mining activities, which would destroy or degrade salmon habitats.

The Pebble Mine would be situated at the headwaters of Bristol Bay--an area supporting the world's largest sockeye salmon fishery as well as sport fishing opportunities, local subsistence fishing with a 10,000 year history, and a commercial fishing industry that employs 7,000 workers and generates $300 million a year.
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Alaskans for Bristol Bay
Alaskans for Bristol Bay is a 501(c)(6) organization dedicated to preventing the destruction of the largest wild salmon fishery on earth. The Bristol Bay headwaters support abundant wildlife, local subsistence with a 10,000 year history, and world class commercial and sport fishing opportunities. For more information, please visit www.alaskansforbristolbay.com.

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