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New Poll Indicates North Carolina Voters Strongly Favor Public Control of Water in the Yadkin River Basin

Stanly County, NC, July 09, 2008 --( In a poll commissioned by the North Carolina Water Rights Committee to gauge public opinion regarding Alcoa’s efforts for renewal of a 50-year federal license for a monopoly on hydroelectric power from the Yadkin River Basin in Stanly County (“the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project”), North Carolina voters overwhelmingly say that the people of North Carolina, rather than a multinational firm like Alcoa, should control water rights in the Yadkin River. Additionally, the survey found that by at least a 2-to-1 margin, voters in every region of North Carolina say the state should take time to study the renewal of Alcoa’s license because this issue will affect North Carolina’s economy, the environment, and access to water for the next 50 years. Results were the same across all political affiliations, ethnic groups and genders.

The North Carolina Water Rights Committee authorized Hamilton Campaigns of Washington, D.C. to conduct a telephone poll of 500 likely N.C. voters between June 30 and July 1. The margin of error for a sample of this size is plus or minus 4.4 percentage points, at the 95 percent confidence level.

The Stanly County Commissioners are on record as opposing Alcoa’s operation of the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project and has asked the state intervene in the matter, saying that the state’s water rights for a public resource such as the Yadkin River should take precedence over a private firm such as Alcoa having an unlimited monopoly on it. Similar resolutions have been signed by Davidson, Randolph, Iredell, Anson, Cabarrus and Union County Boards of Commissioners, as well as the Centralina Council of Governments.

Governor Mike Easley, Lieutenant Governor and Senate Minority Leader Phil Berger have all sent letters to FERC requesting that it delay its decision so the matter can further be studied by the state. Based on this poll, the voters of North Carolina overwhelmingly agree.

Recently, in a bi-partisan effort, several members of the North Carolina General Assembly introduced language to create a commission that would study the impacts of FERC granting a 50-year license to Alcoa Power Generating Inc.’s operations on the river. The provision was under discussion as part of the state’s budget legislation, but may end up being debated separate and apart from the state budget bill. State Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand has noted that the only people to contact him to oppose the study provision have been lobbyists for Alcoa.

Key findings of the survey include:

· Six out of 10 voters say they agree with people who say the State of North Carolina should take a limited time period to study the license renewal because this issue will affect our economy, the environment, and our access to water for the next 50 years.

· An overwhelming majority (86 percent) say rights to water in the Yadkin River should be managed and controlled by the people of North Carolina.

· A similar majority (87 percent) say the most important use of water in the Yadkin River is to ensure that there is adequate drinking water during the current drought.

Documents outlining survey questions and results, their exact wording and their percentage of responses are available online at

“The results of this poll not only indicate support for our position on North Carolina’s water rights and the need for the state to intervene and study the issue, but they also refute Alcoa’s claims from its distorted survey,” said Stanly County Commissioner and North Carolina Water Rights Committee member Lindsey Dunevant. “We will gladly allow anyone to review the exact wording of the questions as well as how the survey was conducted. Most importantly, we are heartened to learn that a majority of North Carolinians in every region of the state believe that our natural resources such as the Yadkin River belong to the people rather than a private company exploiting it for profit, and we urge our legislators to keep that in mind when deciding whether to create a study commission on the Project this session.”

About N.C. Water Rights Committee:
The N.C. Water Rights Committee is a coalition of North Carolina businesses and concerned citizens who have joined this state-wide effort to inform citizens of the critical issues and decisions concerning water rights that affect all North Carolinians now and for many decades to come. For more information, visit

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

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Patty Briguglio

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