STAND FOR SALMON PROPONENTS ARE POPPING CHAMPAGNE CORKS
Lt. Gov Byron Mallott advised “Stand for Salmon” initiative proponents this week that their petition has been reviewed and he has determined “that the petition was properly filed.” It will be on the ballot this year, likely during the August primary.
That means for the next few months voters will hear the pros and cons of yet another environmentalist initiative that seeks to shut down development in Alaska.
The Stand for Salmon Initiative would likely end mining as well as many potential oil and gas projects in the state, if voters pass it. But it will also shut down timber, and even some housing construction. Business leaders across the state are concerned it will have a powerful chilling effect on the economy.
The letter to the initiative proponents, dated March 13, has not been released to the general public. There has been no public notice, but the Stand for Salmon group posted the news on their Facebook page.
“We have long expected this measure to be approved to go before Alaska voters later this year,” said Katie Capozzi, who is the manager of an opposing group, Stand for Alaska. That group has broad support of the business community and almost all Alaska Native corporations, who have development interests far and wide across Alaska.
“This misguided and poorly written ballot measure is ripe with unintended consequences that will cause havoc in Alaska’s communities and in how we live our lives, both in urban and rural Alaska. It’s clear the language of this measure puts important development projects at risk. But, it also negatively impacts public infrastructure projects such as roads, airports, ports, pipelines and wastewater treatment facilities,” she said.
There is still the matter of the court challenge. Supreme Court oral arguments are expected April 26. The Department of Law is challenging the constitutionality of the language of the ballot question.