Opinion Piece from Charlotte Observer: Smoking Gun E-mails

Lawyers for Stanly County and several environmental groups discovered that Alcoa had not told everything it knew regarding the fact that certain water quality standards in the Yadkin River were not in compliance with the company's assurances when it sought the critical state permit.

Without that permit, Alcoa cannot be relicensed by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to operate hydroelectric plants at four dams along the Yadkin River in the state's central Piedmont. Alcoa got a permit to operate the power plants back in the late 1950s to provide power for its aluminum smelter at Badin. One reason the state supported that application back then was that Alcoa employed a lot of people at very good wages in Stanly County - as many as 1,000 workers in its heyday.

Read full story by Jack Betts, Raleigh-based columnist and associate editor for The Charlotte Observer.