Stanly County, NC, March 21, 2010 --(PR.com
)-- The Stanly County Board of Commissioners have received a 2009 Governor’s Conservation Award from the North Carolina Wildlife Federation. The award specifically recognizes Stanly County for environmental protection leadership in its opposition to Alcoa’s (APGI) efforts to obtain a new license to operate four (4) hydroelectric projects along the Yadkin River.
The award highlights Stanly County’s efforts to make sure the health of its citizens is protected from the significant contamination associated with Alcoa’s current hydroelectric and former aluminum smelter operations. The contamination includes PCBs at the Alcoa site on Badin Lake, which have been documented in North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources (NC DENR) reports.
Stanly County’s on-going environmental battle is currently tied up in the State’s 401 water quality certification process. Alcoa must receive the State’s water quality certification in order to obtain a new license to operate the hydroelectric projects. However, a judge has issued a stay in the 401 certification process to review Stanly County’s arguments. One of Stanly County’s main arguments stems from a Division of Water Quality (DWQ) report that reveals the State acknowledged contamination in the Project’s swimming areas, found PCBs which came from Alcoa’s operations in the Project and recognized that Alcoa is in violation of water quality standards for dissolved oxygen in the Project.
The Stanly County Board of Commissioners have been strong opponents of allowing Alcoa to continue its monopoly of the hydroelectric projects because of Alcoa’s poor environmental history with its operation on the Yadkin River, the abandonment of operations by Alcoa at the Badin Works with its related loss of 1,000 jobs and the right of the people to control the water.
If Alcoa receives a new license, it will have a monopoly on the waters that belong to North Carolina citizens and generate millions in profits from its hydroelectric operations on the Yadkin. Unlike other companies that generate electricity in North Carolina, Alcoa is not required to operate under the regulatory oversight of the N.C. Utilities Commission. Revenues from the sale of this electricity are used to supplement other Alcoa owned smelter operations in the United States and around the globe. Thus, the water resources of the Yadkin region are being utilized to provide jobs and wealth in other states and countries.
A process has been initiated to offer alternative stewardship of the Project via a bill to create the Yadkin River Trust, set up by the State of North Carolina. Already approved by the State Senate, the Yadkin Trust bill is eligible for consideration by the State House during the upcoming short session of the North Carolina General Assembly.
MMI Public Relations