US court rejects state's claim to riverbed where dams built

By Emery P. Dalesio, AP Business Writer

A federal appeals court has rejected North Carolina's claim that it owns the bottom of a major river where hydroelectric dams have been churning for a century.

 

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — A federal appeals court has rejected North Carolina's claim that it owns the bottom of a major river where hydroelectric dams have been churning for a century.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals split 2-1 in dismissing the state's claim that it has a say in the operations and ownership of four Yadkin River dams built to power a now-defunct Alcoa aluminum smelter.

Monday's decision by the Richmond, Virginia-based court upheld a lower court ruling that Alcoa had proved it acquired title to 99 percent of the disputed riverbed, and that North Carolina was too late to contest the rest.

Laura Brewer is a spokeswoman for state Attorney General Josh Stein. She says Stein's office hasn't decided whether to appeal the ruling to the U.S. Supreme Court.

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