North Carolina Governor Calls on FERC to Delay Alcoa Relicensing

Stanly County, NC, April 10, 2008 --( Governor Michael F. Easley has asked federal regulators to delay a pending relicensing before the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) filed by Alcoa, Inc. for renewal of a 50-year license to govern and sustain ownership of the water flowing from the Yadkin River, one of the longest rivers in North Carolina. In a letter sent Friday, April 4, 2008 to J. Mark Robinson, director of the Office of Energy Projects for FERC, Governor Easley asked FERC to extend Alcoa’s current license for a period of one year, “so that we may all work toward solutions to serve the long-term economic and environmental needs of these communities.”

Governor Easley’s request falls in line with the position of the Stanly County Commissioners, each of which have been outspoken concerning the future of the Yadkin Project. It is the position of the Stanly County Commissioners that the best way to provide for the future of the Yadkin River is for the State of North Carolina and its public to be the undisputed owner of the Project.

Alcoa first obtained a 50-year license in 1958 to oversee what is known as The Yadkin 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 twenty-one counties and contains ninety-three state municipalities. The 1958 license to Alcoa expires on April 30, 2008.

Stanly County Commissioner Lindsey Dunevant made the following comment:

“We applaud Governor Easley, as well as the many other county commissioners, house representatives, senators, business professionals and North Carolina citizens that have given their time and attention to this extremely important matter, one which we deem to be one of the single-largest economic and environmental issues affecting our state. Our opportunity to manage the water and make it work for our current and future citizens is going to be critically important as we seek to use water as a key component for the management of our growth and our economic well being.”

The text of Governor Easley’s April 4 letter immediately follows this release.

Patty Briguglio
MMI Associates, Inc.
(919) 233-6600
PR Firms Raleigh, NC
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April 4, 2008

J. Mark Robinson, Director
Office of Energy Projects
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Washington, D.C. 20426

Dear Mr. Robinson:

I am writing to request your assistance regarding the relicensing of the Yadkin Project of Alcoa Power Generating Incorporated.

In March 2007, Secretary William G. Ross Jr. of the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources signed the Relicensing Settlement Agreement for this Project, along with 21 other signatories. This settlement agreement addresses issues of sound environmental management of the Project and provides positive environmental benefits to the citizens and local communities who use and enjoy the Yadkin River.

However, since the Settlement Agreement was finalized, several local communities whose economies are closely tied to Alcoa’s current and historical presence in this area have raised other concerns about the renewal of this license. Alcoa’s industrial and hydropower operations had for many years been the primary employer in this area, employing hundreds of people. Indeed, the hydropower facilities were built to provide power to operate the associated smelting operations. Now, however, Alcoa’s smelting plant has been closed, and Alcoa now employs fewer than thirty people. In light of Alcoa’s changed role, some affected communities have raised complex and important issues about the appropriateness of Alcoa’s ongoing benefit from the hydropower generated from a truly public resource, the Yadkin River.

While these concerns have been raised outside the typical bounds of the relicensing process, I believe they reflect important questions about the use of North Carolina’s public water resources for public gain. Moreover, I believe these concerns are sufficient to merit a delay in the relicensing process so they can be fully vetted and addressed before another 50-year license is granted. I respectfully request your assistance in this matter by extending the current license for the Yadkin Project for one year so that these concerns can be fully evaluated and so that we may all work toward solutions to serve the long-term economic and environmental needs of these communities.

With kindest regards, I remain

Very truly yours,

Michael F. Easley

Stanly County
Patty Briguglio