The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

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January 24, 2013

Board meets with new counsel

Friday, January 25, 2013 — In a strange coincidence, Stanly County Commission met with its new legal counsel for the ALCOA cases Tuesday night just as a neighboring county was giving the company a “thumbs up” of sorts.

The meeting had only one regular item agenda and there were only four people in attendance outside of the commission and staff.

Those four were two members of the media, a deputy sheriff and S.C. Kitchen of the Turrentine Law Firm.

As seems to be a normal part of the commission’s meetings as of late, the members met in closed session after the regular business was finished.

However, this closed session lasted for only minutes and after it was over, Chairman Gene McIntyre introduced Kitchen to the media.

“We went into closed session to be introduced to our new attorney on the 401 (water quality permit intervention) and the open meetings lawsuit,” McIntyre said.

“We were updated on the 401 and what he is up to and trying to get up to speed.”

Currently, the water quality certificate issue is at a stand still since ALCOA filed a motion in court in August requesting a “dismissal without prejudice” in the suit appealing the revocation of its certification.

Stanly County had joined with the North Carolina Department of Environ-ment and Natural Resources (DENR) in that case after the agency revoked ALCOA’s license in December 2010.

The company filed a new application for a license in October and the state has one year to make a decision.

The Division of Water Quality’s period for public comment on the new license ended last week, so a decision on the new license potentially could come at any time.

The county is continuing to defend itself from the lawsuit the company brought against them concerning the availability of public records pertaining to the county’s actions in the ALCOA matter.

While Stanly County met with its new lawyer, Davidson County voted to approve  the relicensing settlement agreement (RSA) with ALCOA by a vote of 5-2.

That currently makes only Stanly County and the city of Salisbury the only two governmental agencies who have not given approval to the document.

But the ALCOA website concerning the agreement does not cite Salisbury’s reluctance to give its approval, saving the sole criticism for Stanly County.

The statement “Stanly County’s efforts to delay the new license may postpone the implementation of many positive changes included in the Relicensing Settlement Agreement” appears twice in the same document.

In another strange twist to the entire situation, (DENR), the agency who revoked ALCOA’s license, had originally signed its approval on the RSA.

During the commission’s regular agenda, the board approved returning Hilda Lee and Hazel Lefler to the Stanly County Community Advisory Committee.

The commission also approved the appointment of Terry Whitley to the Economic Development Board replacing Grover Stewart who has decided not to serve another term on the board.

 

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