A group opposed to the proposed Pebble Mine has secured enough signatures to get their initiative on the ballot.
On Tuesday, the Division of Elections counted 30,210 verified signatures for the Bristol Bay Forever initiative. It needed 30,169 signatures. According to the Division of Elections tally, the group also cleared a threshold requiring that those signatures come from districts spread across the state.
The initiative would require legislative approval for large-scale mining operations in the Bristol Bay Fisheries Reserve for the purpose of protecting the area’s salmon fishery. While the initiative does not explicitly name Pebble Mine, it is targeted at the controversial project. Sponsors focused only on Bristol Bay to avoid affecting other mining projects in the state.
“[That way] you don’t have other entities saying, ‘Yeah, but it might affect me over here,’ ‘It might affect me over here!’” says Art Hackney, a political operative who represents the group. “This is just about this one fishery.”