Thursday, April 09, 2009

Alcoa 'incredibly disappointed' with Perdue's action

Rick Bowen, president of Alcoa's energy operations, has expressed his company's disappointment with the governor's request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to support recapturing the company's Yadkin River hydroelectric plants. Here's his letter:

Dear Governor Perdue:

Alcoa has been doing business in North Carolina for nearly 100 years. We planted roots here in 1915 and have invested our shareholders’ capital to build the hydroelectric dams on the Yadkin River. We continue to contribute millions to the Stanly County economy each year and remain the county’s largest taxpayer.

In light of that background, we are incredibly disappointed that you are pursuing a government takeover of our business in central North Carolina. While we fully respect the State’s right to ensure that high environmental standards are maintained in and around the Yadkin River, it is also important to recognize that the hydroelectric dams were built, maintained, and operated with private funds, not taxpayer money. We would have preferred to discuss this matter personally with you before your decision to seek to use taxpayer dollars to displace that private sector investment.

Over the past six years, we have worked in good faith with the State of North Carolina in the federal relicensing of the Yadkin Project. The
State’s interests were well represented during the relicensing process by both the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources and the N.C. Wildlife Resources Commission, both of which signed the relicensing agreement, along with 21 other stakeholders, including American Rivers, The Nature Conservancy and the Land Trust for Central North Carolina.

Alcoa has followed well established state and federal processes from the start, the same processes deployed by Duke Energy and Progress Energy in their relicensing efforts. Your intervention comes as the relicensing process is nearly complete and represents vastly different treatment for Alcoa.

We and our shareholders have invested hundreds of millions of dollars to build these dams without any funding from the State of North Carolina, and we have an obligation to our shareholders to protect that investment. The state has valid and considerable interests in the Yadkin River, and there are a myriad of state and federal laws in place to ensure that North Carolina will continue to control the water there.

As this process moves forward, we hope you will give us the opportunity to talk with you about our concerns. In addition, we hope that the N.C. Division of Water Quality will continue to evaluate our application for a water quality permit for the Yadkin Project based solely on its merits and the precedents previously established by the State. The Yadkin Project should not be held to a different standard than any other hydropower project in North Carolina.

We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to further discuss these issues at your earliest convenience and will call your office to seek an appointment. We look forward to discussing this important issue with you in the near future.

Sincerely,
Rick Bowen
President – Energy
Alcoa, Inc.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Impeach Bev Perdue.

Anonymous said...

Drain the lake.
drop the dam.
Give Bev what the state had before the investors built the dam.

Anonymous said...

Bev Perdue is a moron. What idiots out there voted for her???

Anonymous said...

Anon 10:44 I absolutely agree.

Anonymous said...

Bev Purdue could have a great future working for Hugo Chavez in Venezuela!

stephen said...

"The Yadkin Project should not be held to a different standard than any other hydropower project in North Carolina."


Actually it should because it does not benefit the people of Stanly County. It only benefits your shareholders. And those "hundreds of millions of dollars" you've invested were spent developing on PUBLIC water. You had a lease and its up to us whether that lease is renewed.

I'll repeat, it is not a government takeover of a private business. It is a landlord kicking out an undesirable tenant. I don't care how much work you do to my house, if you're running a meth lab you're not welcome there. You can take the dams with you on your way out.

Anonymous said...

Bev Perdue the ultimate NANNY!

rick b said...

Thank you, stephen.

It's amazing that out of seven comments, only one person seems to understand the situation.

Your analogy is excellent. To carry it a step further (in order to counter Mr. Bowen's whine about his shareholders' "investment"): in a commercial lease, upfit costs are usually borne by the lessee (Alcoa, in this case). This is standard practice.

Say a restaurant operator moves into raw retail space in an expensive shopping center. The restauranteur "invests" hundreds of thousands of dollars in upfit costs, many of which are permanently affixed to the building and cannot be removed easily.

The restaurant provides jobs, food, and tax revenue for the community for years. It is an asset and is treated as such by the residents.

Then, "shareholders" and "management" of the restaurant decide they want to move on to greener pastures, and they abandon the space and the community. The lease comes up for renewal. The landlord requires the former restauranteur to do something productive with the space, something that will not blight his retail center and which will protect the community's interests, or the lease will not be renewed.

And all those expensive upfit costs that the lessee bore become irrelevant. The landlord, after all, owns the building.

It's really as simple as that. Alcoa is attempting to hijack the landlord's property while not fulfilling its obligation to the landlord and the community.

It's time to hold these "deadbeat tenants" to a higher standard of conduct. It's bad enough that Duke Energy is given such a free pass on its relicensing applications - I'll agree with Mr. Bowen on that - but at least they're still fulfilling some of their obligations. Yes, the federal and state governments "gave away the store" to Duke, allowing them to continue milking the cash cow while requiring them to provide precious little public access to the shores and allowing them to continue the destructive rape-and-pillage activities of their Crescent division.

That is no reason for the governments to contuinue to follow bad river management policies in other basins just to pacify another corporate whiner.

Anonymous said...

As a shareholder in a number of public corporations and a Stanly County taxpayer, I find the actions of Stanly County officials, Governor Perdue and Mr Criso short-sighted and misguided. Firstly, the legal concept of leasing does not apply to this case so the preceding post employed a specious and sophistic argument.
Secondly, Alcoa and its shareholders built the dams and have paid the maintenance costs. In return, the citizens of the region recived tax monies on the value of the Alcoa properties. Those same citizens also were able to enjoy the recreational opportunities afforded to them by the lakes. Property owners surrounding the lakes saw the values of their holdings inflate drastically. The properties that surround the lakes have proved beneficial to Stanly County citizens whose economy has become more moribund over the years-due in large part by the same somewhat ignorant behaviors by Stanly County leaders on display here.
Thirdly, these actions will have enormous impact on any future industry recuitment efforts by Stanly County. Any shareholder or officer of any company that requires any meaningful infrastructure investment will believe that the actions of Stanly County officials would put their investment at additional risk and will prudently steer clear of placing their operations in Stanly County-costing jobs that are sorely needed and contributing to a continued worsening of the local economy.
In summary, stanly County officials should back down-NOW.
Mack Mabry

Anonymous said...

I as a taxpayer am incredibly disappointed in the way NC taxes keep going up, up and up. We need a revolution in this country. Let's start in Charlotte.

Anonymous said...

Open the floodgates,let the Yadkin return to it's natural flow, remove all equipment from the dams. After all this would seem to be returning it to it's pre Alcoa state which is what people seem to want. See how many complaints people make about "low water levels" then.

The great state of North Carolina can't even run what they have now without a bunch of junk, how do they think they can operate the dams.

Anonymous said...

Everything government touches turns to crap.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the project doesnt benefit Stanly County. You lose ALCOA and watch what happens to your taxes. Talk to your county Commisioners before you let Lord Purdue put it to you!

Anonymous said...

How much longer til the next election???

Anonymous said...

Alcoa is the biggest thief in American history and you folks posting on here about the goverment are so misinfomred you make me sick. Come to Stanly County and eat the contaiminated fish from the lakes or drink the water that has huge amounts of arsenic from the factory in the wells.

Anonymous said...

"You can take the dams with you on your way out."

Now, there's the real motivation of these folks. The environmentalists in North Carolina want the state to take the project, then get rid of the dams and return the river to its "natural" flow.

Just you wait and see...

Anonymous said...

It disgust me the amount of tax money that Stanly County Commissioners are spending on this ALCOA
project. Our schools don't even have enough money to operate, but we have $$$$$$ to spend on this.
I love the lake and I support the relicensing. For the guy who talked about the "bad" fish . . . yeah, if you eat 30,000 fish in one day.
If Madame Purdue wants the lake, be sure you take your concrete with you when you leave. What will happen to Norwood . . . what, Norwood, where is Norwood. There will not be one,.

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