By: TU Alaska staff
Opponents of Ballot Measure One have bankrolled a misinformation machine. What’s more, they have painted the measure as an end to all development and jobs in Alaska. It is an attempt to scare Alaskans into voting against their own jobs. The truth is, our salmon habitat creates jobs and we can’t afford to ruin it.
Voting yes on Ballot Measure 1 would mean that companies who do projects in salmon habitat would be held more fully accountable for their actions. It ensures that projects that cause long-lasting harm or are massive in size are thoroughly evaluated, and that projects that are small with minimal or short-term impacts are given the green light.
To be clear: the measure would add specificity to our state law governing activities that are allowed in salmon habitat. Among other things, it would add two key components for a developer proposing to build “major” impact projects like mines, dams or roads. First, it would add a component that prevents them from impacting salmon habitat in the first place, and a second that says that if a salmon stream is still impacted during construction or operation, they have to pay to clean them up. While this seems like common sense that should have been in place for years, it hasn’t been. With projects like the Pebble mine hanging over our heads like a huge dark cloud, it’s way past time to fix the problem with the current law.
Some of the companies opposing Ballot Measure One are our friends. So be it. In every major ballot initiative that goes before the people of Alaska, there will be times when some friends “agree to disagree.”
However, several of the companies opposing the initiative have a long track record of causing harm to our fish and wildlife resources and are acting in direct opposition to Alaska’s best interest – which is to keep our salmon around for future generations to keep freezers full and our economy diverse and thriving.
If the pro-salmon side had the kind of money industry on the opposition side does, the message all over our tvs and radios would be: Salmon fishing in Alaska provides more than 30,000 direct jobs, generates $2 billion in economic activity and pays $722 million in taxes, which helps fund our schools, police, health care and infrastructure. When poor development occurs in the state – like Pebble would be if it happens – put all this at risk when their projects jeopardize salmon habitat.
However, though over 1,000 individual Alaskans have donated to support the ballot measure (compared to the opposition’s 50 Alaskan donors), we simply can’t afford the expensive ad campaigns their side can.
So, we urge folks to learn the truth. Please ask yourselves why the backers of Pebble, for example, have kicked in over $1 million opposing the initiative despite the fact that they’re in dire financial straits already.
Under current law, it is legal for Pebble Mine to wipe out miles of trout and salmon producing streams and thousands of acres of wetlands. What’s more, under today’s law, the already-financially-struggling state would be left holding the cleanup bill in the event of an accident. But if we pass Ballot Measure 1, we can make sure we protect salmon habitat, Alaskan jobs, and the best interests of our state.
There are over 40 Alaska sportfishing businesses, in addition to this long list of businesses in support of Ballot Measure 1, hundreds of hard signs popping up around the state, and thousands of Alaskans committing to vote yes on November 6th. Join us by committing to vote at this link.