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Union County Adopts Resolution Opposing Private Ownership of the Yadkin River


Stanly County, NC, June 06, 2008 --(PR.com)-- The Union 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 19, 2008, the Union County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously 5-0 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 Union, 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, Anson 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 Union 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. The resolution was signed by Chairman Allan Baucom, Vice Chairman Kevin Pressley, A. Park Mills, Jr., Lanny Openshaw, Roger Lane and Lynn G. West, Clerk to the Board. The May 19 meeting was held at the Union County Government Center located at 500 N. Main Street in Monroe, N.C.

The full text of the resolution is as follows:

Whereas, Union County is located within the Yadkin-Pee Dee Watershed; and

Whereas, the citizens of Union County are exploring 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, the current license held by Alcoa is set to expire in April of 2008 and Alcoa is currently applying to FERC to grant it another license which would give it control over the Yadkin River and its lakes and tributaries for the next 50 years; and

Whereas, the application submitted by Alcoa did not solicit in put and does not take into account operational requirements necessary to address multiple uses of the Yadkin River, including potable water supply; and

Whereas, the citizens of Union County and North Carolina are dependent upon their government to act in their best interest and to protect our water and natural resources which we depend on to meet our basic needs as well as continued community and economic development.

Now, Therefore, Be It Resolved, that the Union 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 Union 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.

"Union County joins Davidson, Randolph, Iredell, Anson and Cabarrus County Boards of Commissioners, as well as the Centralina Council of Governments, in a statewide effort to protect one of our state’s most vital natural resources,” said Stanly County Commissioner Lindsey Dunevant. “The actions taken by the Union County Board of Commissioners indicate the increasing support against letting public resources such as the water from the Yadkin River serve as profits centers for private companies such as Alcoa.”

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.

Patty Briguglio
MMI Associates, Inc.
(919) 233-6600
patty@mmimarketing.com
PR Firms Raleigh, NC

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Contact Information
Stanly County
Patty Briguglio
919-233-6600
Contact
www.mmimarketing.com

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