Salmon Initiative Backers Have the Signatures for Alaska’s Ballot

On January 16, backers of a ballot initiative to update Alaska’s law governing development in salmon habitat have delivered box after box of petitions to the state’s Division of Elections office containing over 49,500 signatures to include the initiative on the ballot in this year’s election cycle.

Ballot sponsor Stephanie Quinn-Davidson, director of the Yukon River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission, said tens of thousands of Alaskans from Nome to Ketchikan in every legislative district favor updating the laws to reflect a true balance between responsible development and protection of salmon.

The initiative proposes updates to a 60-year-old law that guides development projects in areas of salmon habitat. Such projects are currently assessed by the Alaska Department of Fish and Game based on what the law defines as “the proper protection of fish and game.” The Stand for Salmon group contends that without clear guidelines on what “proper protection is” the standards for permitting are vague.

From the onset, the goal was to collect 45,000 registered voters signatures, well over the minimum 32,147 required.

The Division of Elections has 60 days to review the petitions to confirmed that they contain the names of the minimum of required registered voters.

The proposed initiative is opposed by a cross-section of other Alaskans, including the Alaska Miners Association Alaska Oil and Gas Association, Alaska Support Industry Alliance, the economic development corporations for Anchorage and Fairbanks, the Teamsters Union and all 12 Alaska Native regional corporations.