Before you start, I must advise you that the website I write about below is not longer accessible. The Alaskan courts have ruled that it should be taken down because it was written with the input of hte mining industry and the opponents say it is not objective.
The ability to spell appears to be in short supply in Alaska. On the website of the Alaska Department of Natural Resource (DNR), they announce their analysis of Ballot Measure #4, and they say “State Releases Informaiton [sic] on Ballot Measure #4.” Then they go on to complain that the ballot says effect when it means affect. And that the Supreme Court in Alaska had to tell them that effect in the ballot actually means detrimentally affect.
If you can ignore these indicators of low education levels, or at least sloppy editing, then go to the DNR website, their media release, and the information they provide on the fight of the century over mining in Alaska. If I read it aright, it all boils down to the fact that existing laws are good enough, that the ballot would only introduce confusion (remember effect versus affect) and that there is no provision for violation of the statute. Keep in mind that a law that prohibits something has to specify the penalty for violating the law, otherwise the law is considered void. And the ballot would affect all mines in Alaska.
From a legal perspective there is no doubt the ballot would make bad law; lawyers would grow rich litigating the law; and mines would have an additional irritant to deal with, but probably would not be significantly affected.
But the ballot is more: it is a plebiscite on the Pebble Mine. This is not a vote to change the laws of Alaska. This is a just a very expensive attempt to stop the Pebble Mine. I have written my fair share on the mine, but on this issue, I conclude that asking the citizens of Alaska to vote on an issue that has not been debated and on which there is but scant information in the public domain, almost amounts to the rule of the rabble, not democracy.