Here's a statement that came today from the Alaskans Against the Mining Shutdown.
After months of posturing in state superior courts, an extensive media campaign, and just days prior to the Supreme Court reviewing the legality of the CW1 and CW3, the initiative proponents have asked Lt. Governor to drop CW1 from the ballot. This measure had already been declared unconstitutional by the state Attorney General's office and a Fairbanks superior court judge. In dropping the measure, the proponents admitted that it had unintended consequences. Despite their claims to the contrary, they are acknowledging that this initiative was overly broad and would have imposed restrictions that would have shutdown Alaska's large metal mining industry.
At this time, it is unclear whether this request to halt the legal proceedings on CW1 is within the purview of the Lt. Governor or the Court to grant. The decision on what will happen to CW1 may remain with the Alaska State Supreme Court. Given that there is still a real threat that CW1 could be placed on the ballot, AAMS will continue its campaign against this dangerous and deceptive measure.
The status of CW3 also rests with the Supreme Court. The Attorney General's office has written that, if CW3 were to be interpreted according to its plain meaning, it would have the same effect as CW1 and would be unconstitutional. Instead, the Attorney General has expanded the interpretation and construed CW3 to be not significantly different than the existing statewide water quality standards. The proponents incorrectly claim that this measure will not effect existing mines and will only serve to establish a regulatory structure that protects water and salmon. This begs the question of why the measure's proponents would go through an extensive campaign solely to ask voters to affirm existing standards. Under one legal interpretation of CW3, it would prohibit any release of water, similar to CW1, and would have the same drastic consequences: a mining shutdown.
The only way the conflicting interpretations of CW3 can be resolved is when the Alaska Supreme Court reviews this measure and offers its interpretation sometime in late June. The Court's ruling will provide clarity for the voters and enable the industry to evaluate the likely impact of this measure. Until then, AAMS will continue to inform Alaska voters of the potential risks and dangers from CW3.