Ann Brownlee: Ahead with Alcoa

May 19, 2013 

Ahead with Alcoa

Regarding the May 13 Point of View piece “Alcoa and the question of water rights”: First, on the question of who owns the Yadkin riverbed, legally, the state owns it only if it was navigable in 1789. The Army Corps of Engineers surveyed the river in 1879 and 1887 and found none of it navigable in its original condition. They found the section from the rail bridge near Salisbury to the South Carolina line, which encompasses the Yadkin Hydroelectric Project, to be not only unnavigable, but also unworthy of improvements to make it navigable.

Secondly, the state never owned the dams and has no right to “recover” them. Both the state and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission have rights regarding water withdrawal permits, and it’s preposterous to think Alcoa could siphon off the water and sell it.

Thirdly, Alcoa has invested a lot of money to redevelop the former Badin smelter site so that it can accommodate other businesses – and jobs. The former Secretary of Commerce never did anything to support economic development there.

It’s time to stop obstructing Alcoa’s license renewal.

Ann Brownlee


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