US judge weighs whether NC or Alcoa owns riverbed property rights under Yadkin River dams

IndustriesAssociated Press

A dispute between North Carolina officials and Alcoa Inc. over the right to control the water and electricity coming from the state's second-largest river system is before a federal judge.

Both sides are scheduled to argue Wednesday that Judge Terrance Boyle should decide the bulk of the case in their favor.

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State attorneys argue Alcoa hasn't produced any documents showing ownership of the riverbed below four dams operating there for about a century.

Republican Gov. Pat McCrory last year joined Democratic predecessor Beverly Perdue in opposing a new federal license letting Alcoa run the dams for another 50 years. Both governors say that inexpensive energy resulting from public control of the dams could produce thousands of jobs and that the river's water is important to supply North Carolina's 9.5 million residents.