The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

January 21, 2009

Whining should cease

Tuesday, January 20, 2009 — Having observed the comments of the anti-ALCOA participants and in the Sunday SNAP article made me think of a bunch of jackals circling a wounded antelope salivating for the kill.

The purpose of the hearing was “ address the water quality discharged from dams to give DWQ more input prior to its decision on the...license.”

All that was observed was the same old tired rhetoric by the group from Water Rights Committee and a few new spokesmen for them like Mr. Naujoks and other “dam haters.” I did not see where any new established or documented evidence or empirical material was presented. It was to me the same old saw — “It’s our water.”

To the contrary, I did see ALCOA offer the statistical analysis of the work they have done to improve oxygenation of the dam waters and the mention that they are spending upwards of $140 million to keep God’s waters flowing in a safe and pure manner for all of us in the Yadkin basin. A bunch of whinny complaints about not being able to put their boats in the lake during a drought season and “we suspect there might be” are not conducive to rationale why ALCOA should not be able to generate electricity from the dams they built, maintain, improve, and where they employ people.

First, let me say, it is not any locality’s or “Committee’s” water. The mighty Yadkin is the handiwork of God’s nature and if anyone owns it, it is He. It is up to anyone using it to use it without despoiling it, providing access to all to enjoy it, make industrial use of it (generate electricity in ALCOA’s case), and then pass it downstream so others can use it.

ALCOA, contrary to the shrill bleating of a few, has made every effort to ensure the waters are cared for and used properly under all environmental laws as they have been evolving over the years.

Secondly, I think from all I have heard and read, some local folks and politicians are trying to practice a “license to steal.” In none of the verbiage: The Water Rights Committee Trust press releases, letters to the SNAP and Charlotte Observer, picketing in Raleigh, or state meetings, FERC meetings or to my knowledge anywhere has this group of disgruntled folks offered any plan, or method of recompense to ALCOA if they manage to steal the property of ALCOA for their own gains, whatever they may be.

Thirdly, I still have not heard how these fine folks plan to match and pay for the improvements ALCOA has offered to make at their own expense and has been making; Nor have I seen how they are going to pay for the lands to be given by ALCOA to our Morrow Mountain park and other public access areas.

Fourthly, in case it is not known by the “Committee” and the commissioners, the county and us here in Stanly are in the middle of a recession bordering on depression.

It seems that tax monies are going to be froth with deficits in the next few years and it seems absolutely nonsensical to be trying to drive an established industry out of the Yadkin region.

It would seem to me that these nay-sayers would be applauding ALCOA at this time and would be offering a positive plan to help electricity to be produced in the Yadkin River basin by ALCOA — not trying to steal it.

Unless these citizen serving individuals have something to offer, the whining should cease and we should get on with relicensing of ALCOA before we lose this industry and we have to revert back to candles and coal furnaces.

Or maybe we want the horse and buggy days back.

Thomas M. McCluskey

New London