Alaska Supreme Court upholds superior court ruling against ‘Save Our Salmon’ Initiative

In a ruling issued Friday, Alaska’s Supreme Court upheld the overturning of the ‘Save Our Salmon’ Initiative.

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Save Our Salmon was adopted by a narrow vote in the Lake and Peninsula Borough in 2011. It established a borough-level permitting process to develop a mine like Pebble. Its sponsors believed it would not only add a layer of protection against Pebble, but perhaps preempt the mine developers investing further in the project since that permit would be all but impossible to obtain.

Save our Salmon was challenged in court by Pebble and the State of Alaska in separate lawsuits which were later joined. In March 2014, Superior Court Judge John Suddock ruled in their favor, striking down the initiative, saying it superseded the state’s natural resources permitting authority under the constitution.

The ballot sponsors, George Jacko and Jackie Hobson, who were backed financially by Bob Gilliam, appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court. On Friday, the court issued a 20 page opinion siding with Suddock that Save Our Salmon was not lawful and leaving it overturned.