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Letters to the editor – Saturday (10-17-08)

Alcoa’s 50-year lease is up
I read with some amazement the comments the Post published on Oct. 12 concerning the plan to recapture Alcoa’s Yadkin River hydroelectric facilities.
The article was titled “Perdue’s Alcoa plan is deeply misguided” and was written by Rick Bowen, president of Alcoa Energy. My amazement stems from why, when a property is leased for a period of time, in Alcoa’s case 50 years, the company thinks it then owns that property. Talk about misguided! Their lease is up! Period.
All the arguments Alcoa originally presented for its lease 50 years ago are no longer relevant. It wanted the longer lease (not the 30 or 40 years FERC originally proposed) to make it economically feasible to produce aluminum, provide 1,000-plus jobs and be stewards of the river. Alcoa does not do any of those things now ó they just make millions of dollars selling electricity.
Mr. Bowen makes a ridiculously weak argument to justify another 50-year gift from the state of North Carolina. There are no jobs, no aluminum, plenty of pollution and no reason for Alcoa to be given another 50 years. Why the 50-year period in the first place? Why not five or 10 years?
If FERC grants Alcoa a new 50-year lease, a private company will essentially own forever the river and the dams it now operates. The state now manages several lakes and rivers and does an outstanding job. The state can manage the Yadkin also and do it far better than Alcoa does.
ó Jack Rigdon
Salisbury
Caring for others
Several letter writers have warned recently that the United States is in danger of descending into socialism as legislators wrestle with health care proposals. I think they are wrong. But the discussion misses the point. What if we looked to health care reform as a nationwide effort to attend to the question, “How can I help my neighbor?”
The vast majority of people in this country, religious or not, would at least profess their desire to help a neighbor. They would probably give a little from their own pocket to help someone demonstrably in need.
The question remains apt on a national scale. Let’s reshape health care in this country so that people who need it get it. That’s not socialism. It’s loving your neighbor.
ó Doug Kearney
Salisbury

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