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« Banning domestic partnerships and civil unions in North Carolina | Main | Twilight companion »

Apr 01, 2012


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Billy Jones

When the fracking starts the Yadkin basin is history.


I've visited all of the state parks in central and western NC. Morrow Mountain State Park ranks high in my Top 5. It's a hidden, unspoiled, and relatively unknown gem in the central Piedmont. That stretch of the Yadkin is a sight to behold and the view from the top of Morrow on a clear day is one of the best views in the state. Once upon a time my wife and I wanted to retire in Watauga County but we've settled on the Uwharries, that may change though if what Billy says comes to pass.

John D. Young

Billy, with the protection of the Uwharrie National Forest, Morrow Mt. State Park and with the current preservation efforts to preserve Alcoa's land (around 16,000 shoreline and upland acres) along the Yadkin we hope that this section of the Yadkin River basin will be properly protected against such activities as fracking.

Also, the natural gas hunters have not been impressed with this region of the state.

The Yadkin Pee Dee Basin has other major protected bubbles like the Pee Dee Wildlife Refuge further south and Pilot Mt. State Park further north. But if Alcoa's land also is preserved (and they have already agreed to preserve over 6,000 acres as part of their Relicensing Settlement Agreement) then the Yadkin Pee Dee Basin would become the most important protected river basin corridor in the state (actually NC and SC) running from the mountains to the sea.

Account Deleted

Hi John. What exactly is recapture? Are you referring to the local government recapturing the license? Sorry for the simple question, but I want to make sure I understand. Good article on Inside Stanly.

Billy Jones

John, as much as I want to believe you are correct I fear no amount of protection is enough to save the Yadkin should the fracking come.

John D. Young

Hello, Jeff, it's been a while.

There is an active effort from the Stanly County Commissioners and a few at the state level to halt the relicensing by FERC (Federal Energy Regulatory Commission) of Alcoa's 4 hydro dams. FERC can recommend that a license be "recaptured" or taken over by the federal government if there is a pressing federal interest in doing so. That recapture recommendation is made to the US Congress and it is the Congress that would actually make that decision. If Congress went along then Congress would have to purchase Alcoa's dams at a greatly depreciated price. FERC has already stated in their Final Environmental Impact Study for the Yadkin Project that there is no federal interest in a takeover/recapture.

It is my current view that the Federal Power Act and FERC created the recapture process to allow the takeover (recapture) of a hydro project that was basically bankrupt or going bankrupt and unable to make the necessary improvements. Then FERC had a procedure in place for the takeover and possible decommissioning of that hydro project. That is not the case with Alcoa who is working with FERC, the EPA and DENR to do what needs to be done to eventually get their new license.

And by the way the 16,000 acres of Alcoa's shoreline and upland property is outside the purview of the relicensing battle. The relicensing battle is over Alcoa's 4 dams and the water at normal high water mark in the Yadkin. It looks as though if either Stanly County or the state somehow magically took over Alcoa's Yadkin Project the lands along the Yadkin would be eventually developed. By in large Alcoa has kept its land along the 38 miles of the Yadkin Project fairly pristine and undeveloped -- that land must be preserved.

  Bill Yaner

Great, sober analysis of this critical issue, guys. Thanks for delving into the the red tape and bringing out the essence of where our best interests lie.

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