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State of Alaska sues over Pebble Mine initiative

JUNEAU, Alaska — The state of Alaska is suing to invalidate the results of a voter initiative that could stop a massive gold and copper mine near one of the world's premier salmon fisheries.

Residents of Lake and Peninsula Borough voted earlier this month to ban large-scale resource extraction that would "destroy or degrade" salmon habitat. The measure was aimed at the Pebble Mine development located near the headwaters of Bristol Bay.

But in a lawsuit against the borough, the state claims the initiative is trumped by Alaska law. It is asking a judge to keep the borough from enforcing the measure.

The lawsuit alleges the initiative usurps and conflicts with the state's authority to govern the management and development of mineral resources.

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