The feud is over: Alcoa and Stanly County reach agreement | Business
ALBEMARLE - After spending several years and thousands of dollars opposing the corporate giant, officials in Stanly County now say they will no longer fight Alcoa's efforts to be re-licensed to run a series of hydroelectric dams on the Yadkin River.
The 3-2 vote came Monday night in Albemarle after Alcoa presented a new settlement plan that some say will have a wide ranging impact.
"The timing was right for both the county and Alcoa and that we can work together to build the partnership and move forward to the betterment of the citizens," Stanly County Manager Andy Lucas told WBTV.
It's about the water, and who can use it to generate electricity that is sold. Alcoa built four hydroelectric dams that control water in four local lakes, for its plant in Badin. The plant employed nearly 1000 workers, but closed a few years ago. Alcoa still controlled the dams and the power generation through a federal license that has to be renewed for 50 years. Many were opposed to Alcoa being granted a license renewal, including environmental groups and those who wanted to take over the profit producing power themselves, but now one of Alcoa's biggest stumbling blocks in the process is being removed.
"The the average citizen in the county the commissioners no longer involved in a legal battle and spending those resources. The citizens will get, as part of this agreement, will have a partnership with Alcoa moving forward to expand the Badin business Park and help work together to recruit industry and business and jobs to Stanly County which will benefit everyone," Lucas added. "There will be economic development resources that will come as a result of this settlement, money that the county can use for infrastructure for economic development related activities. There will also be the opportunity, the county was given, Alcoa is going to support the county in getting up to 30 million gallons a day of water which in the long term over a fifty year period has tremendous value as we all know, as this region grows, water is going to be tremendously important so having that water they're also going to donate to the county the land that's necessary to build a water treatment plant. Having that resource I think the Board felt like was, going forward, certainly having immediate funding for economic development and cash to spend on infrastructure is important but having the water allocation up to 30 million gallons a day is going to be critically important as we move 20-30-40 years out as this license continues."
Under the terms of the agreement, Alcoa will give the county $3 million, $1 million for economic development.
We talked to several residents, most felt like James Johnson.
"After Alcoa went down it seemed like Badin just went down," Johnson told WBTV. "I'm hoping it will bring some more progress into Badin."
During the Monday night meeting one resident spoke in opposition to the agreement.
"That water is our most important, if not our only, asset," said Mike Snyder. "I think it’s extremely important that you consider, and reconsider, and make sure that the decision that you’re going to make tonight is one that’s going to benefit the community at large. I think that those of you that will choose to sign off on the agreement that I would suggest that history may not be kind for that type of action."
There are still serious concerns over the pollution issue. This coming Monday night the NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources is holding a public hearing to talk about issues related to contamination. That meeting is May 13 at 6pm at the Morrow Mountain State Park Lodge.