Yadkin Riverkeeper: Division of Water Quality needs to open decision on Alcoa to the public

Press release from Yadkin Riverkeeper:


Please call DWQ immediately and ask for a public hearing and extension of the comment deadline on Alcoa’s application for a water quality certification for the relicensing of its hydropower dams.

Contact information from DWQ: fax to 919-807-6494, or email to karen.higgins@ncdenr.gov. Calls to 919-807-6300.

Background information is below:

On November 28, DWQ issued a public notice that Alcoa had reapplied for its 401 certification from the state, and set a comment deadline of January 18, 2013. However, less than two weeks later, DWQ wrote to Alcoa stating that the application was incomplete and that until the company gave the missing information to the agency, the application would be placed on hold. Because the public cannot comment on an incomplete application, the comment period should have been extended. Earlier this week, attorneys for the state confirmed that the company had not yet provided the missing information, and consequently, the comment deadline would be extended until the application was complete.

At 2:36 this afternoon, the state changed its position and notified us that comments were due at the close of business today after all. This reversal of position serves to exclude the public from effectively participating in the comment process. In addition, because the company’s application is still incomplete, the public lacks access to information that could influence the content of their comments.

Your voice is needed. Please call, e-mail or fax DWQ and ask for a public hearing on the 401 certification, and an extension of the comment period. This will be your only opportunity to be heard before the state makes a decision that will have far-reaching and long-term impacts on the quality of the Yadkin River and the health of our communities.


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