The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

October 29, 2012

New commissioners are needed


Monday, October 29, 2012 — 1. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission since the 1980s has aggressively supported private industry as the central force for electricity production in the U.S.

2. FERC highly regulates most every hydro project in the U.S.

3. The waters of the Yadkin/Pee Dee River are federal, interstate and public waters highly regulated by FERC for the citizens of the U.S. FERC regulates the water levels in the Yadkin Project, FERC approves and grants water withdrawals from the Yadkin Project and it is FERC that requires the Yadkin Project to be both safe and environmentally sound.

4. FERC has historically had a good relationship with Alcoa and in their Final Environmental Impact Statement FERC’s staff clearly states that there is no interest, whatsoever, in a federal takeover (recapture) of the Yadkin Project. No such takeover has ever occurred.

5. FERC clearly states that the loss of jobs, due to the closure of the aluminum plant, is not a factor in their decision about relicensing the Yadkin Project.  FERC considers the loss of jobs unrelated to the operation and relicensing of the Yadkin Project.

6. FERC has historically defined the public good/benefit for the relicensing of a hydro project to simply be the production of green electricity for the U.S.

7. The waters that enter High Rock Lake are impaired and have very low levels of dissolved oxygen. The tremendous amounts of sediments, livestock waste, heavy metals, etc. that enters High Rock needs immediate NCDENR involvement.  Clean water is a river basin wide issue.

Alcoa, with their recent dissolved oxygen improvements (additional improvements will be implemented with the new license), should receive their 401 Water Certification from NCDENR and FERC will approve their new license.  

We desperately need to elect new county commissioners who actually understand the reality of the federal relicensing process.

John Young