This November a new ballot initiative calling for improved fish habitat safeguards could rewrite the rules

Bristol Bay, AK, home to the salmon habitat protection battle that’s now been playing on repeat for years, could avoid development threats such as Pebble Mine with a restructuring of the state’s antiquated Fish Habitat Permit Law.

The current law, according to opponents like TU, is worthless because it empowers Alaska Department of Fish & Game (ADF&G) to hand out development permits without comprehensive checks and balances in place. Public notice isn’t required during the process and, thus, public input is rarely sought. As a result, projects like Pebble Mine, regardless of their potential to toilet wild salmon habitat, get the rubber stamp.

Alaska-based coalition Stand for Salmon wants to see the law re-tooled this fall, and it’s encouraging Alaska voters to help make that happen by supporting fish habitat law amendments, which will come up as Measure 1 on their ballots. A “Vote Yes for Salmon” campaign is now underway, but the org says it’s underfunded, considering international corporations are digging deep to prevent the ballot initiative from moving forward. Even if you don’t live in Alaska you can pitch in, here.

“They’ve raised $9 million to date… Pebble has given $1 million alone. The list of their donors reads like a who’s-who of the globe’s most irresponsible developers, and includes BP and ConocoPhillips.”

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Tom Bie is the founder, editor, and publisher of The Drake. He started the magazine in 1998 as an annual newsprint publication based in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. He then moved it to Steamboat, Colorado (1999), Boulder, Colorado (2001), and San Clemente, California (2004), as he took jobs as managing editor at Paddler, Senior Editor at Skiing, and Editor-in-Chief at Powder, respectively. Tom and The Drake are now both based in Denver, Colorado, where The Drake is finally all grows up(Swingers, 1996) to a quarterly magazine.

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