On October 27th, delegates at the annual Alaska Federation of Natives [AFN] Conference voted overwhelmingly [almost unanimously except for Bristol Bay] to oppose the Alaska Clean Water Initiatives that protects Alaska’s waterways, streams, rivers, and lakes from mining activities [specifically the Pebble Mine].
In my opinion they made it crystal clear that mining is a higher priority than their subsistence way of life. Not surprising given that ANCSA requires all Native corporations to share profits from mines which operate on Native land. The concern from AFN is that the Alaska Clean Water Initiatives will jeopardize every mine existing and proposed in Alaska.
In Alaska, the following mines operate on Native corporation lands: Kensington Mine [447 acres], Rock Creek and Big Hurrah operation [900 acres], and the Red Dog Mine [2526 acres]. That’s millions of dollars in the hands of Native corporation shareholders. That’s cash by the way in the form of dividends.
I urge everyone to go to the State of Alaska Division of Elections and read the initiatives [1 & 3] and decide for yourself, whether you will sign the petitions. Over 23,000 thousands signatures need to be gathered before the start of the next legislative session in January 2008 in order for the initiatives to make it on the ballots in November 2008.