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Court Rejects Alcoa's Request to Speed Up Yadkin Project License

Alcoa got another blow Tuesday in its effort to secure a new 50-year hydropower license on the Yadkin River. A federal appeals court refused to speed up Alcoa's licensing effort. Alcoa is locked in many legal battles over its hydropower license, and North Carolina officials continue to push for the license to be denied completely. This latest ruling has to do with a water quality certificate the state issued to Alcoa back in 2009. Alcoa appealed the certificate because it required the company to post a $240 million bond guaranteeing improvements would be made to the Yadkin River dams. Alcoa says the state took too long to issue the certificate and was making unreasonable demands. So, the company asked federal regulators to go ahead and issue the 50-year hydropower license anyway. Those regulators refused, so Alcoa went to the U.S. Court of Appeals. On Tuesday, that court also rejected Alcoa's arguments. But, the ruling is partly moot because last year North Carolina took back the water quality certificate Alcoa was upset about. That's a separate lawsuit, the outcome of which could derail Alcoa's Yadkin River operation entirely. Governor Bev Perdue, among other state officials, says the dams Alcoa has operated for decades on the Yadkin should be turned over to the state.