Two public hearings are scheduled this week in the ongoing fight over whether Alcoa should be allowed to continue operating dams on the Yadkin River.
The hydroelectric dams are about 60 miles south of the Triad, and they powered Alcoa’s aluminum plant in Badin for decades. The factory is now closed, but Alcoa is seeking another 50-year federal license to operate the dams and sell the electricity on the open market.
At tonight's public hearing in Albemarle, officials with the state Department of Environment and Natural Resources will present and take questions on Alcoa's proposal to remediate pollution from the aluminum plant. They'll also discuss state and federal findings on PCB contamination in lakes, reservoirs and fish along the Yadkin.
Tomorrow night, DENR holds another hearing, about Alcoa's application for a state water quality certification. That license would allow the company to move forward on getting a federal permit to continue operating the dams.
Environmentalists, some local residents, and former Governor Bev Perdue's administration have opposed Alcoa's attempt to retain control of the dams. But commissioners in Stanly County, who had long fought the company, voted last week to end their opposition after Alcoa agreed to give the county $3 million and 20 acres for a potential water treatment plant.