YKHC Board Supports Controversial Salmon Habitat Ballot Initiative

The board of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Health Corporation declared its support this week for a controversial salmon habitat ballot initiative, Alaska Native News reports. 

YKHC’s board came out in support of the ballot initiative in advance of the annual Alaska Federation of Natives convention. The measure would toughen salmon habitat protections.

However, board chairman Esai Twitchell would not comment to KYUK about why the board supports the measure. YKHC  declined to comment on the board's support for salmon habitat ballot initiative. 

YKHC’s board also came out against the proposed Donlin gold mine two years ago. The mine could be one of the biggest gold mines in the world, if completed. The regional health provider is currently expanding its operations in Bethel, and its board fears that a massive mine could deter future employees. They also fear Donlin's environmental impacts.

Donlin Gold, the company developing the mine, has said that it plans to build the mine safely. And Donlin says it will bring thousands of jobs to the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta for construction and mining. Donlin has also said that the salmon habitat ballot initiative could complicate the permitting process for the project. So far, the company has contributed $1.2 million to a group opposing the ballot initiative.

The post has been updated to include YKHC's decision to decline commenting on their board's support for the salmon habitat ballot measure.