Welcome to the latest installment of the Wednesday Wake-Up Call, a weekly roundup of the most pressing conservation issues important to anglers. Working with our friends at Trout Unlimited, Backcountry Hunters & Anglers, the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership, The Everglades Foundation, Captains for Clean Water, Bullsugar.org, and Conservation Hawks (among others), we’ll make sure you’ve got the information you need to understand the issues and form solid opinions.
If you know of an important issue–whether it’s national or local–that anglers should be paying attention to, comment below, and we’ll check it out!
1. Montanans Reject Responsible-Mining Initiative
Over the past few weeks, we’ve been advocating a “YES” vote on a Montana ballot initiative that would have required hard-rock mining companies seeking new permits to show they will not cause perpetual pollution, such as acid-mine drainage. Yesterday, I-186 was rejected by Montana voters by a 58 to 42 percent margin.
But this is by no means the end of the effort to ensure that mines cannot pollute waterways and then just go away without cleaning up their mess. David Brooks, executive director of Montana Trout Unlimited and co-chair of the Yes for Responsible Mining Initiative, said, “While we are disheartened about the results we have no intention of giving up. Sportsmen and -women are serious about ending the legacy of perpetual pollution in this state, and we won’t rest until we can pass on the assurance of clean water to future generations. Don’t count us out yet.”
Passing the ballot initiative was always going to be an uphill battle, given how much money the mining industry spent to defeat it. However, the number of individual donations to the “YES on I-186” movement proved just how many people are passionate about this issue, which bodes well for the future. Along with Trout Unlimited, we will continue to advocate for legislation that protects the cold, clean water that is so important to the outdoor pursuits we love.
2. Ballot Measure to Protect Alaskan Salmon Fails at the Polls
Similarly, Alaskans voters sent Ballot Measure 1, Salmon Habitat Protections and Permits Initiative to the same fate as I-186. The ballot measure also sought to create accountability by forcing foreign mining corporations to pay for the clean-up of mega development projects on or near vital wild-salmon habitat, so that Alaska taxpayers wouldn’t be left holding the bill. While the proposed Pebble Mine would have clearly been effective, Ballot Measure 1 took a wholistic approach to the issue that focused on salmon protection. The measure failed by a 64 to 36 margin, with the NO campaign spending more than five times as much as the YES campaign.
Anyone who has been following the fight against Pebble Mine for the past dozen years knows that these kinds of setbacks usually serve to redouble the efforts of those who want to protect the state’s natural resources, and we will support those efforts whenever or however we can.
Visit Stand for Salmon for more information.