Registered Alaska voters who are concerned about maintaining clean water and protecting wild Alaska salmon need to make sure they are one of the 23,800 signatures on the petitions required to put the Alaska Clean Water Initiative on the November 2008 ballot. All signatures are needed by Jan. 1. The central peninsula needs to collect 1,500 signatures as a region and all regions of the state must be duly represented in order for the initiatives to be placed on the ballot.
The purpose of the Clean Water Initiatives is to place strong environmental standards to control discharge of toxic wastes associated with large scale mineral mines (more than 640 acres), such as the Pebble Mine, into drinking water and salmon producing rivers. Small mines, placer mines and existing mines will not be affected by the initiative.
The initiative will provide voters the only opportunity to actually have a say as to whether the development of large mines that adversely impact water quality should proceed.
Mining disasters lead to dead rivers and toxic legacies for future generations. It is ludicrous to think that risking the world's largest wild salmon run's watershed is worth all the gold in the world. Gold is a shiny metal, mostly sought after by rich people. It is not a renewable resource that can be eaten, it does not produce energy and the state of Alaska will not receive any royalties from the profits.
It is vital for anyone who wants to stop the madness of placing a large, hard rock mine in the headwaters of Bristol Bay one of the most pristine areas left in Alaska to sign the initiatives petition. Registered voters can sign the petition anytime at River City Books in Soldotna. Because who knows, maybe the next big gold discovery will be in Cooper Landing at the headwaters of the Kenai River.
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