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Alcoa Postcards Pressure Stanly County

Part of the postcard sent to 20,000 mailboxes in Stanly County. Click image to read mailer.

Part of the postcard sent to 20,000 mailboxes in Stanly County. Click image to read mailer. Alcoa and a company called Clean Tech have given Stanly County commissioners an ultimatum: Support Alcoa's request to renew a 50-year hydropower license on the Yadkin River, or miss out on 450 jobs. The deadline is December 15. Alcoa sent more than 20,000 postcards to mailboxes in Stanly County and surrounding areas this week declaring December 15 a "deadline for Stanly County jobs." But Stanly County Commission Chairman Lindsey Dunevant says, "I don't think that it's a makeable deadline." Alcoa is a minority investor in a new company called Clean Tech that says it wants to move onto Alcoa's old smelter site in Badin and create 450 jobs - but only if Stanly County drops its long-standing opposition to Alcoa's Yadkin River license. Clean Tech says Alcoa's dam operations will help off-set the large amounts of power it needs to make silicon metal and recycled rebar. Commissioner Dunevant says Clean Tech is welcome. "We've encouraged them to locate in Stanly County, we just know it shouldn't be tied to the issuance of a hydroelectric license," says Dunevant. In fact, Dunevant says there are two other companies interested in the Badin site who aren't demanding Alcoa's license renewal as part of the deal. The county says those offers are not moving forward and Dunevant fears Alcoa is hand-picking economic development opportunities as a way to force renewal of its hydropower license. Alcoa spokesman Mike Belwood says that's not true and points out in an email that an electronics recycler already operating on the Badin site did not demand Stanly County support the hydrolicense. But even if Alcoa fulfills its promise to eventually attract 750 jobs and $400 million of investments to Stanly County, Commissioner Dunevant says the hydropower dams are worth more. Alcoa says the dams generated about $18 million in electricity sales last year. Dunevant expects demand for electricity will bring that yearly figure to at least $100 million in coming decades. Stanly County wants Alcoa to share the wealth as part of its license. "If you generate more, then we benefit from it, if you generate less than we take the hit as well as you do," says Dunevant. Alcoa has so far rejected such an arrangement and negotiations with Stanly County have been at a standstill since they last met on Oct. 10. Dunevant says Stanly County Commissioners have no other meeting with Alcoa on the calendar. However, commissioners do plan to meet Friday morning with Clean Tech - the company that says it needs a deal by Dec. 15.