Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Yadkin River Trust bill and Hugo Chavez?

Alcoa Power Generating Inc. issued two new items on its blog today aimed at dampening support for a bill in the legislature to create a Yadkin River Trust to operate the hydroelectric plants on the Yadkin for which Alcoa is seeking new federal licenses. Alcoa's N.C. property manager Gene Ellis posted one from a businessman who is so concerned about the prospect of the state gaining control of the dams that he says he's planning to move to South Carolina if the bill passes. He likens the prospect of the state taking over the project to the nationalization of private property by Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. Here’s a link.

Richard Glenn of Glenn Underwater Services said, "It started very small just like the forced acquisition of Alcoa’s Yadkin projects and ended up with a country that is now state run and has evolved from a healthy democracy to an almost certain dictatorship. During that time, Chavez was using terms such as ‘this would be best for the citizens,’ these companies are ‘sending profits overseas,’ and so forth. These exact phrases are now being used by politicians in North Carolina.”

Adds Ellis: “The government is trying to take our business and that’s an unprecedented attack on our private property rights. North Carolina doesn’t simply want to take our license away. It wants to take our dams and the land around them.”

In another blogpost, Alcoa takes issue with the N.C. Water Rights Committee's assertion that the Yadkin project may produce as much as $80 million in income. Ellis said that figure is absurd, and concludes, "The profit numbers being floated by the N.C. Water Rights Committee are pure fantasy. But if anyone out there can tell me how to create an $80 million profit from a business that only generates about half that in gross revenues, please give me a call."


Steve said...

What I never see in the articles on this issue is any analysis of what is really going on. I lived in Stanly Co. for a total of 8 years and never quite figured out the subtleties of their politics, so I realize sorting this out would take some work.

Apparently the Stanly County government is all in favor of the takeover. The leaders in the town of Badin (none of whom work for Alcoa, AFAIK) are dead-set against it. So what's really at stake?

Supposedly control of water is an issue, but the state controls that anyway. Are there developers looking to make big profits off of developing lakefront land now owned by Alcoa? Did they make big contributions to the county officials and the state legislature leaders, or what?

This is all really about something, but one can get no clue to what based on what one can read here. I don't think that anyone really believes the silly figures of the revenue the state could supposedly rake in by taking over the dams, and I doubt Gov. Perdue could find Venezuela on a map, much less know who Chavez is. The waters seem to teem with red herrings.

Stanly County Citizen said...

The role model is not Chavez but Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt fought monopolies like Alcoa that undermines our free market system and interferes with democratic systems. It is Un-American to permit monopolies and as Roosevelt warned “Look out for the Aluminum Company that is trying to steal your water powers…don’t have a problem with large corporations making a profit, but not at the expense of the public on a natural resource that belongs to them.” Real Americans don’t drink this kool aid. We fight monopolies because they threaten the functioning of “Free Markets and interfere with our democratic processes.

The Federal Trade Commission in the 1930’s revealed that Alcoa and other Monopolist tried to brainwash the public that it was communism and socialism to be involved in hydro electric power production. The Supreme Court did not support the position of Alcoa and other private interest. Monopoly businesses are anti free market, anti democracy. Not permitting monopolies are pro business and actually is necessary for our “free markets” to work. Great American leaders starting with Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin Roosevelt all have fought to preserve the waters for the benefit of the public providing jobs for our neighbors, water to drink and revenues for our State Treasury. This is an attempt of a private corporation to claim a “public resource” that the law says belongs to all of us.

Alcoa agreed and gave the government an option on their “project property” in exchange for the right to enjoy a monopoly on the waters to make a guaranteed profit for fifty years. I thought we held contract law pretty high in this country. Alcoa knows and understands this is a contract.

- Stanly County citizen

Anonymous said...

To Steve;
I grew up in stanly County, have property and relatives there.
The politics there are not subtle.
The county has for years been dominated by corrupt and ignorant leadership that has sought to maintain their dominance.
As a result, the community has fallen more and more behind the rest of the nation (and the world) so that now it is literally an outpost of the third world.
Tony Dennis, Lindsey Dunevant, Jerry Myers and Roger Dick are just the latest examples of ignorance and corruptiion that put Stanly County into the mess it is in. The mindset of these individuals is to apply the power(s) of the government to steal private property-the dams and 38,000 acres of land that ALCOA shareholders purchased, built and maintained because they believe that act would allow them to continue their be-nighted way of life.
Like Hugo Chavez and other rabble they use public money ($1 million and counting)to further their aims. Like Chavez they also , with the help of public relation hacks, cloak themselves as defenders of the poor.
Like Chavez, they lie toreach their goals and like Chavez they will screw their fellow citizens.
The ugly truth is that if they are able to steal ALCOA's assets, they lack the competence to operate them. Another truth is that the watershed is too small to support fixed cost/production contracts and thence can sell power on the spot market as a result. The demand for electricity on the spot market is forecast to diminish due to conservation measures already underway. The proponents handle truths by perpetuating lies, delusions or both. The statement that ALCOA generates huge profits;$80 M each year in profit as recently posted by Roger Dick is an example of the integrity these folks possess.
So to Steve the bottom line is:
The place has been run by the corrupt and the ignorant for years. The ALCOA take-over, if successful will be a huge drain on scarce public resources for the next 50 years and the poor people of Stanly County will get screwed.... again.

Anonymous said...

Why is no one mentioning the 30 MGD (milliom gallons a day) IBT (inter basin transfer) in this bill? That amounts to 200,000 new homes being developed in this area. You want to live like the packed in folks of western union county? I would also point out that the federal governmentowns ALL navigable waterways in the U.S. (like the Yadkin/ PeeDee river) which is why the liscense to operate a dam is a federal liscense not a state liscense.

Anonymous said...

To poster #3....

Talk about integrity? How can you preach about integrity while spewing slander upon your fellow citizen's names! I have always lived in this county and know personally most of the players on both sides of the ball. Most of the county leadership that you falsely accuse of being corrupt are newcomers to local politics. Dick isn’t even a politician, but a banker, son of a former Alcoa employee/ subsistence farmer. These aren’t crooked politicians from old money political machines. These are parents who have watched their children leave the county they were raised in for better economic opportunities.

It sounds as though you have spent too much time in bed with Alcoa's spokesmen, as much of what you have stated is a lie and it is reckless for you to post it here.

1. It's not stealing if you sign an agreement allowing someone to purchase your property (the option).

2. If Alcoa does not acquire the the new license, then the county does not get the project, but some other entity, such as the Yadkin River Trust currently moving through the state legislature. The county would have no hand in operating the facility, but as laid out by the Trust, the management and operations would be carried out by a board consisting of industry (hydro-electric) professionals and others as appointed by the governor. Your false comments on this issue alone illustrate your lack of education on this matter.

3. Who sold you the lie that the watershed is too small to support fixed costs? If I was Alcoa and I owned dams that couldn’t financially support themselves and forced me to redirect funds from my other projects to maintain them, then I definitely would not be fighting this hard to prevent someone from buying them. I would take their money and tell them to have it. Your logic here is non-existent.

4. Conservation measures currently underway will prevent the sale of hydroelectricity? I challenge you to name one "conservation measure" that will prevent the sale of green energy in this era of demand for renewable energy. As long as rain falls from the sky and flows downhill, these dams will produce electricity that does not pollute the air or cause concern for nuclear holocaust. Even 4th graders know that our fossil fuel supplies are dwindling and we have to search for other power generators. Our planet would be full of fools to not utilize rivers that have already been harnessed for electrical power.

I know that I for one am thankful for the county leadership that we have and that you are not part of it. As for the economic distress of this county, it is due in large part because for too long we have been dependent upon outsiders for our livelihoods, whether they be multi-nationally owned companies like Alcoa or textile mills from the Northeast, both of which have shuttered their factories and left unemployment in their wake as they head overseas. Bottom line is that a large corporation does not care about local small town citizens when it's financials are on the line. I commend our county and state leaders for taking charge of our own futures.

Anonymous said...

To Poster #5
You wrote:
FACT: The option expired 3 years ago. Now for the Dennis, Dick, Dunevant and Myers crowd to take over the dams and the lakes they would have to pay "fair market value" under eminent domain. I do not believe that even they do not know that. To put statements like you wrote is an untrue statement-which y definition is a lie.

The state and Stanly County lack the competence and more importantly the honesty to operate a complex enterprise like a hydro-electic enterprise. NC State University is run by appoineted trustees and Ms Mike Easley got a no show job engineered by the head of the board of trustees- an Easley crony. In Stanly County there are two felony theft cases from 2 of 4 high schools working their way through the courts now, the drivers' licenses for undocumented immigrants at the Stanly County DMV................
So to claim that this process will be untainted by corruption and incompetence is another mistatement(lie).
ALCOA can make a profit because they own the dams and the lakes-free and clear. It has been reported in these pages that the ALCOA system was insuffcient to support electricity needs of the smelting operations when they were operating. ALCOA needed to buy electricity on the market to operate the smelter. The idea that this project would be transformative to your county's economy is impossible. Those who say that stealing ALCOA assets will lead to peace and prosperity lie.
Fact: Between conservation measures and the economy electricity production is being reduced. The Wall Street Journal recently reported the largest power producer in Texas moth-balled 20% of their generating capacity. While there may be a demand for "green energy" in the future, any state/county run facility will have to compete on price with electricity generated in culture where incompetence and corruption is un-rewarded.
You wrote:
I know that I for one am thankful for the county leadership that we have and that you are not part of it. As for the economic distress of this county, it is due in large part because for too long we have been dependent upon outsiders for our livelihoods, whether they be multi-nationally owned companies like Alcoa or textile mills from the Northeast, both of which have shuttered their factories and left unemployment in their wake as they head overseas.
The facts:
Wiscasset Mills(closed)was owned by Cannon (Kannapolis and Concord) a family that Robin Hayes married into, EJ Snyders(closed) was locally owned by a fine family. Both of these provided
a comparable numder of jobs as did Badin Works.
These companies were not multinational nor from the Northeastern US. Your statement otherwise is a lie.
Now let's get to the biggest lie of all.
Dennis, Dick and the rrst state that the project will be financed by revenue bonds. That means that invsestors will buy the bonds and be re-paid INTEREST AND PRINCIPLE-just like a mortgage Bank of Stanly owns on a house trailer in Tyson township.
To pay back the bonds the project woyld have to generate hundreds. of millions of dollars. The power generating capacity of the ALCOA dams cannot support hat level of income.
The poor people of Stanly County are gonna get screwed.............. again.

top cat said...

Carl said, I live on High Rock Lake and I have spent over 40 years using the lakes involved here. Simply put, keep the state out of Alcoa’s business. Regulate the water flow and associated levels. Government can always step in IF Alcoa is sold to foreign interest.

The state of North Carolina appears to be chasing short-term gains with out the knowledge, or studies of long-term effects.

This is another form of annexation. It should stop now. The states inability to manage itself causes it to chase other forms of revenue.

I do not agree with everything that Alcoa has done in the past, however our UNITED STATES is quickly headed towards socialism.


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