Alaska Supreme Court orders parts of salmon initiative cut

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) – The Alaska Supreme Court has ordered that portions of an initiative aimed at protecting salmon be stricken as unconstitutional but says the rest of the measure can advance to the ballot.

The court says the problematic provisions would bar the state Fish and Game commissioner from granting a permit to a project that would cause “substantial damage” even if the commissioner or Legislature thinks a project’s public benefit would outweigh its effects on fish habitat.

The decision asks a lower court to direct Lt. Gov. Byron Mallott to sever the problematic portions and place the rest of the measure on the ballot.

The initiative has been expected to appear on November’s general election ballot.

Justice Daniel Winfree dissented in part, saying he would have gone farther in severing other pieces.

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