Local voters approved a ballot measure intended to prevent construction of the controversial Pebble gold mine in Alaska’s Bristol Bay.
The vote, conducted by mail among residents of the Lake and Peninsula boroughs, was 280-246, according to a release from the Pebble Mine Partnership, a pro-mine group.
The mine has sparked a storm of controversy, with critics saying the proposed project, which would also produce copper, will destroy the surrounding salmon habitat and the long-standing salmon fishing business that goes with it.
Many jewelers, including Zale, signed a pledge crafted by environmental groups that commits them to never buying Pebble gold. Tiffany & Co. even screened an anti-Pebble documentary to members of the trade in 2008.
In a statement, the Pebble Partnership said that it and the state of Alaska view the initiative as unconstitutional since it covers state-owned lands, and will challenge it in Alaska’s Superior Court.