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BBNC asks state to stay out of Pebble ballot litigation

Bristol Bay Times Staff

Bristol Bay Native Corp. asked the state of Alaska Friday to withdraw its amicus curiae briefing in litigation involving a ballot initiative that would affect development of the Pebble mine.

BBNC expressed its disappointment with the state's attempt to interject itself in the Alaska Supreme Court's review of the ballot initiative litigation before the election is held.

"BBNC believes in the right of Lake and Peninsula Borough residents to express their opinion through a vote," said Jason Metrokin, president and chief executive officer of the regional firm, in a letter to Gov. Sean Parnell and Attorney General John Burns.

"The state of Alaska should not stand between those residents and the ballot box."

Earlier this month, the Alaska Superior Court let the initiative remain on the upcoming Lake and Peninsula Borough ballot for the upcoming October 4 election. The state's recent briefing aligns the state with the Pebble Limited Partnership and seeks to derail the initiative before the election, Metrokin said.

BBNC supports the right of the borough residents to vote on the issue, he said.

The initiative, if passed, would add language to the borough's permitting code that would prevent large-scale resource extraction, like that proposed at Pebble, that would have significant adverse impact on salmon habitat.

BBNC encouraged the state to hold off on its involvement in the matter until after the election.

If the ballot initiative is approved, the state will have an opportunity to participate in the likely inevitable post-election litigation, he said.

BBNC supports responsible resource development on the lands the corporation owns -- as well as on other lands within the region -- that are consistent with shareholder values. The corporation remains vigilant in protecting the interests of its shareholders and the region as a whole, and is dedicated to its mission of "Enriching our Native way of life," the company said in its statement issued late today.

The corporation's shareholders include more than 8,900 shareholders of Eskimo, Aleut and Athabascan descent with ancestral ties to the Bristol Bay region.

This story is posted with permission from Alaska Newspapers Inc., which publishes six weekly community newspapers, a statewide shopper, a statewide magazine and slate of special publications that supplement its products year-round.