Public Hearing Scheduled For Yes For Salmon Ballot Initiative

Credit KYUK

Alaska state officials will hold a public hearing about a controversial ballot initiative that would toughen salmon habitat protections on September 25 in Bethel.

Dubbed Yes For Salmon, the intiative was just recently approved by the Alaska Supreme Court after a legal battle over its constitutionality

Yes For Salmon would revist a 60-year old state law aimed at salmon habitat protection in hopes of toughening regulations and giving the Alaska Department of Fish and Game more leeway to turn down big industrial projects such as proposed mines. A group called Stand For Salmon backs the ballot measure. 

Donlin spokesman Kurt Parkan told KYUK in the past that Yes For Salmon could complicate the permitting process for its proposed gold mine, which would be one of the biggest in the world if completed. 

The mine’s operations would disrupt two creeks that have housed coho salmon and other fish species. Donlin Gold, the company developing the project, just recieved 13 permits from Fish and Game last week that allow it to eliminate or disrupt fish habitat, provided that the company restores and mitigates streams elsewhere. 

Donlin Gold has donated $1.2 million so far to Stand For Alaska, a group opposing Yes For Salmon.

The hearing will take place at the Bethel Cultural Center on September 25 at 2 p.m.