Sixth Board of County Commissioners in Three Months to Oppose Alcoa’s Application For A 50-Year License for the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project
[USPRwire, Tue Jun 03 2008] The Anson County Commissioners have publicly announced their support for North Carolina citizens and state officials who oppose Alcoa’s request to obtain a renewed 50-year license from the Federal Energy Resources Commission (“FERC”) to control, manage and exploit the Yadkin River, one of the longest rivers in North Carolina and one of its greatest natural resources. On May 12, 2008, the Anson County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously 7-0 to adopt a resolution opposing Alcoa’s relicensing of what is known as the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project, comprised of four hydroelectric stations, dams and reservoirs along a 38-mile stretch of the Yadkin River in central North Carolina. The four water reservoirs are High Rock, Tuckertown, Narrows and Falls. The Yadkin-Pee Dee Watershed as a whole includes 21 counties, including Anson, and contains 93 state municipalities.
Over the last three months, similar resolutions opposing Alcoa’s operation of the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project have been signed by Davidson, Randolph, Iredell and Cabarrus County Boards of Commissioners, as well as the Centralina Council of Governments. Alcoa first obtained a 50-year license for the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project in 1958. That license expired on April 30, 2008. Instead of granting Alcoa another 50-year license, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decided only to allow the corporation a one-year extension. At stake is an estimated $45 million in annual electric power revenue and water rights that Alcoa’s opponents across the state believe should belong to the public, not the private multinational corporation.
The resolution signed by the Anson County Board of Commissioners thanked Governor Easley for his timely intervention and further requested that he continue to intervene in the ongoing licensing process before the FERC in opposition of a 50-year license being granted to Alcoa. A key element of the adopted resolution dealt with pollution from Alcoa’s North Carolina smelting operations. Resolution excerpt:
WHEREAS, information and data indicates significant chemical dumping from Alcoa former smelting operations has occurred in areas adjacent to the Yadkin River and its lakes and tributaries which has the potential to impact the water quality of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin;
The full text of the resolution signed by the Anson County Board of Commissioners is as follows:
WHEREAS, Anson County is located within the Yadkin-Pee Dee Watershed; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Anson County depend on the availability of potable water from the Yadkin River; and
WHEREAS, Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa) currently holds a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) license which gives it near total control over the waters of the Yadkin River and its lakes and tributaries for the sole purpose of generating electricity for sale on the open market; and
WHEREAS, information and data indicates significant chemical dumping from Alcoa former smelting operations has occurred in areas adjacent to the Yadkin River and its lakes and tributaries which has the potential to impact the water quality of the Yadkin-Pee Dee River Basin; and
WHEREAS, the citizens of Anson County and North Carolina are dependent upon the State’s leadership to act in the best interests of its citizens to ensure our water and natural resources are not comprised given our dependence on water resources to sustain our basic needs as well as continued community and economic development.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Anson County Board of Commissioners thanks the Honorable Michael F. Easley, Governor of the State of North Carolina, for his timely intervention in the ongoing licensing process and further requests that for the foregoing reasons, and for the benefit of the citizens of Anson County and North Carolina, that he continue to intervene in the ongoing licensing process before FERC in opposition of a 50-year license being granted to Alcoa.
The resolution was signed by Anna H. Baucom, Chair of the Anson County Board of Commissioners and Bonnie M. Huntley, CMC, Clerk to the Board. The Anson County Board of Commissioners are: Chair Anna H. Baucom, Vice Chair Ross Streater, Bobby Sikes, Dr. Jim Sims, Claude A. Spencer, Jarvis Woodburn and Harold C. Smith.
"Anson County has joined a statewide effort in protecting one of our state’s most vital natural resources,” said Stanly County Commissioner Lindsey Dunevant. “A statewide consensus is growing that North Carolina should not consent to giving away the control or the economic benefits of our second largest watershed to private multinational corporation for the next half century. Federal law provides the opportunity for our citizens to own the Yadkin Project or at the very least to have a much greater stake in both its management and value.”
About This Effort:
In 1958, Alcoa, the world’s leading producer of primary aluminum, secured a federal hydroelectric license for the Yadkin Project on the Yadkin River in Stanly, Davidson, Montgomery and Rowan Counties in the Central Piedmont. In return, Alcoa promised aluminum manufacturing jobs for Stanly County for years to come. Alcoa has now essentially disappeared as a major employer in the region and shut down its manufacturing plants, but it wants to continue reaping the benefits of the Yadkin River after its license expires in April of this year. In addition, Alcoa discharged hazardous pollutants into North Carolina air and waterways for decades while harvesting immense profits from the Yadkin River, but has yet to finish cleaning up that contamination. It has filed an application with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to obtain another 50-year license. If Alcoa is successful, one of North Carolina’s most valuable water resources will be used to maximize Alcoa’s profits, instead of being used to benefit the people of North Carolina, who themselves are in dire need of affordable electricity, local economic development, and clean, adequate drinking water.
MMI Associates, Inc.
PR Firms Raleigh, NC