Today, the group Alaskans for Bristol Bay announced that it has gathered enough signatures for a local ballot measure that the group says could put the brakes on the proposed Pebble Mine.
The move would put an inititative on the Lake and Peninsula Borough's ballot in October.
Art Hackney, the group's director, says the initiative would protect salmon by changing the borough's development and permitting code, not allowing permits to be granted for any resource extraction activity (including mining) that would disturb the topsoil of more than 640 acres of land, causing what the initiative calls a "significant adverse impact" on nearby waters.
"It's just simply for the creation of a large mine, you can't go in and wipe out salmon spawning streams to do so, so it's very targeted at Pebble," Hackney said.
Hackney says the group has collected four times the number of signatures required by law to get an initiative on the ballot.
"The people of Bristol Bay are vindicated because they've said very clearly that they don't want this mine," Hackney said. "It will impact their way of life and they're scared to death for what it would mean for a future of certain certain harm to salmon."
But the Resource Development Council for Alaska says Pebble shouldn't have to deal with a local initiative, because it's already made progress with several state requirements.
"The companies have come in, spent hundreds of millions of dollars doing their due dilligence, on state land designated for mining, so they should be able to go through our thorough state permitting process without local initiatives trying to stop them," said Jason Brune, the director of the RDC.
Because the project is on state land, Brune says the issue is bigger than just what voters in the Lake and Peninsula borough think.
"About 350 people signed the initiative, and they feel strongly," Brune said. "They have a right to feel that way, however, there are 700,000 of us in Alaska who own those resources, it is state land and we have an opportunity to make sure that we're showing we're open for business."
Channel 2 News contacted the Pebble Partnership for comment on this story, but they declined an interview.