Monday, May 18, 2009

Managing Yadkin 'misconceptions'

Battle of the Yadkin: Managing "Misconceptions"

Not long ago the N.C. Senate approved legislation to set up a Yadkin River Trust that might eventually purchase or manage the hydroelectric generating plants on the Yadkin that Alcoa Power Generating owns and operates. That bill is now in the N.C. House. Alcoa is seeking a renewal of its federal power license, and recently the state Division of Water Quality approved a water quality certification for the firm -- despite Gov. Bev Perdue's reservations about Alcoa getting another permit to operate the projects. The issuance of that permit was curious, given her stated opposition. Gov. Perdue has formally intervened in the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission process.

Now MMI Associates, which speaks for Alcoa opponents, has sent along a press release that it says clears up "misconceptions" about Alcoa and the project. Among other things, it says the water quality certification doesn't mean the Yadkin's water quality is good: "Anyone who has seen the conditions placed on Alcoa to receive the certificate will realize it has done a clearly insufficient job of ensuring water quality on the Yadkin River over the last 50 years. The $240 million surety bond Alcoa must post to guarantee that financial resources are available to improve dissolved oxygen levels in the discharges of the hydroelectric turbine system is unprecedented. It occurred because the state wants to ensure that Alcoa can actually pay what it promises to do in improvements, which ought to tell you something about the state’s confidence in the company’s financial stability."

For more, go to the Web site of the N.C. Water Rights Coalition at


Anonymous said...

This is a very one-sided article. When will you present Alcoa's side of the story? The other side makes this effort look a lot like Hugo Chavez-like seizure of private property.

Anonymous said...

The previous poster is right on one account. If you listen to Alcoa's spin, Hugo Chavez is moving in with Bev Perdue to take over a great American company. However, This particular company is today owned by domestic AND foreign investers and has made an aliance with Chinalco (The Chinese governement owned aluminium manufacturer) to "explore strategic ventures." Alcoa, if it receives the FERC license, could sell the Hydro project to Chinalco, without Chinalco having to apply for a license. Besides, according to the FERC License agreement that Alcoa signed in 1958, there will be no seizure of private property. In this agreement, Alcoa agreed in turn for reciving the 50 year licence that it would transfer the hydro project property for fair market value if the new licence was not awarded. Alcoa was to provide it's own fair market assesment of its project property in the application for the new licence. Last year it did so, providing a figure of $25 million for fair market value of the project if "recapture" was to be excercised. If the Yadkin River Trust Fund becomes law, and therefore established, then it would use Bonds to pay for the entire project, and hydro power revenues to maintain the project and supply state economic stimulus money. State and local taxpayers would never have to spend money for this project, rendering void the arguements of many that a state aquisition of this project would cost tax payers millions of dollars. This is the wisest thing that we as North Carolineans can do to provide that our drinking water, recreational facilities, environmental health, and that this economic generator remains in our hands and is safe for the next 50 years and next two generations. We should thank our state and local governments for this.

Anonymous said...

I can't wait to go fishing on the Yadkin.

Anonymous said...

This blog has presented Alcoa's side many times, look through past posts. Both sides have received coverage.

Oh and I'm sure the fishing comment was sarcastic but for those who aren't familiar with this situation - watch out for the fish over there. You might pull up something resembling Blinky the 3-eyed fish from the Simpsons.

Anonymous said...

1) MMI is a paid (to the tune of $1M or one half cent of the Stanly County tax rate) mouthpiece of Mr's Dennis, Dunevant and Dick of Stanly County. Their job is to help Mr's Dennis, Dunevant and Dick to manipulate local and state-wide opinion. If an artful lie is required, it is supplied.
2) The press release and the second poster demonstrate the use of the artful lie in practice. What one does if one can is to ignore substantiative issues, appel to the inherent prejudices of one's audience and make up a few "facts" along the way.
3) The facts are that the state/county takeover CANNOT pay back the revenue bonds unless the value of the ALCOA facility is driven down by governmental action-hence the oppostion to the re-licensing, the appeals to the resentments of the poor people of Stanly County who have few employment options, the complaints about PCBs that originated somewhere else in the watershed other than the ALCOA dams, the characterizationas ALCOA as too rich to miss the revenues from the electricity sales to being permanantly crippled and to be bought by Chinalco or Rio Tinto at any minute.
4) Mr's Dick and Dennis claim to be business people. So let's see the assumptions to demonstrate that the revenue bonds will provide a return to the investors in those bonds and NOT require state/county subsidies. Guys, I am waiting. After all revenue bonds are like a mortgage and I am sure Mr Dick has foreclosed on enough of them to understand how these things work.
4) The governments of North Carolina and Stanly County consistently demonstrate themselves to be incompetetent and corrupt. Governor easley's cars, airpline rides, Ms Easley's manufatured job at NCSU, Tyler hansbrough's mother, the execrable conditions at Cherry hospital, the fake driver's licenses for illegal aliens from Brookyn at the Stanly County DMV, human fecal matter floating in Long Creek and misappropriation of funds at North Stanly High School tell me that this project will be a disaster.
The only ones who will profit at the expense of taxpayers will be the PR hacks hired to provide the artful lies to pull the wool over the eyes of the people of Stanly County and those who control the patronage jobs that will be created (See Mrs Easley) and those who are corrupt (See the list above for examples).

Anonymous said...

Yes, MMI is paid as a PR firm to represent Stanly and surrounding counties, as well as NC. On the other hand, Mr. Ellis is hired by ALCOA full time to perform the same duties and make his company look good and honest. How then, can you make the judgement that because MMI is paid to tell the county/ state story that it is telling a lie, yet not assume that perhaps what you have heard from Mr. Ellis and ALCOA not possibly be false as well? After all, both MMI and Ellis are paid to make their side look good. What then is the difference? How to you determine who to beleive? I made my choice after seeing the actual federal LAW. ALCOA makes alot of nice arguments, but there is no legal basis for it. Try copying and pasting some of these links and have a look for yourself.

Alcoa provides here the cost for recapture to be it's "Net Investment" of $24,958,103, plus severence damages.

This link takes to you Article 14 of the Federal Power Act, rendering the recapture of the project as legal.

In this docket to FERC in 1957, Alcoa acknowledged the right to public recapture of the project.

Before we start calling people liers, perhaps we should investigate the truth for ourselves.

Anonymous said...

Hey Jack, if you're just going to copy and paste propaganda from some communist loonies, why not just call in sick? Lazy, dishonest and vulgar. What's the over/under on when you follow Powell, Schulken, etc., out onto the street?

Anonymous said...

1)The sixth post demonstrates another example of the artful lie.
His tactic is not to answer any specific issue but rather to repeat the same list of slogans that have been fed to the gullible by Stanly County leaders who initiated this diastrous misguided effort to destroy a functioning business to repalce it with a corrupt, inefficient power authority that will soak up resources from poor people like those in Stanly County for the next 50 years.
2) Mr's Dennis, Dick and Dunevant allege that the confiscation of the ALCOA facility will auger in two generations of prosperity for the poor people of Stanly County. What they don't tell their neighbors and constituents is that the costs of taking over and running the ALCOA facility by a governmental agency is financially unsustainable. They attempt to pull the wool over the eyes of their neighbors by stating the project will be paid for by state revenue bonds while neglecting to remind folks that BONDS MUT BE PAID BACK WITH INTEREST-another artful lie. As of today the best rate for tax free NC state revenue bonds is 3.86%. Over a fifty year term that translates toa total cost of $2,258,891.12 for each $1M of bonds sold. So if it costs $250 M to bring the dams and lakes up to standard (what Dennis, Dick and Dunevant say) AND they steal the facility for ~$25M the minimum amount of money to be borrowed is $275M which will cost ~$622M. If this number is divided by 50 (the number of years of the license) the facility would have to generate $12.2 M each year beyond expenses to pay off the bonds. To deal with this there is another artful lie that proponents of the takeover use. It is an inflated estimate of the "income" generated by the ALCOA facility-often stated to be $40M/year.This lie has two parts. The first is that it belies the size of the facility. To generate $40 M in wholesale electricity sales the ALCOA facility would need to be THREE TIMES its current capacity at current wholesale electricity rates. The second part of the artful lie that is told by Stanly County officials is that these "millions and millions of dollars" are " income" rather than sales from which EXPENSES MUST BE DEDUCTED TO CALCULATE PROFITS. Stanly County leaders such as Mr's Dennis, Dunevant and Dick know this They just choose not to share these facts because they are contemptuous of the intelligence and common sense of their neighbors and constituents.
Guys, if you actualy do care about your neighbors stop these shenanigans now. Work with ALCOA to find another user for the smelter facility. Tell other potential employers who are worried by your actions towards a legacy employer like ALCOA that you let your emotions outrun your good sense and pay attention to putting your school lunchrooms on firm footing, support your teaching salaries in your scholols, keep your employees from mis-appropriating Stanly County funds and learn how to execute simple easements.
That is something within your capabilities, if you work at it.