In two separate court cases this week, Alcoa prevailed against impedimentary claims made by the McCrory administration. Both cases stemmed from actions taken by the Governor's staff on August 2, 2013.
On that date, McCrory's Department of Administration filed suit claiming state ownership of the Yadkin riverbed in Alcoa's project area. On September 28th, US District Judge Terrence W. Boyle dismissed the State's suit in its entirety, finding that Alcoa clearly held title to the disputed land. Judge Boyle had previously ruled that the relevant section of the river was non-navigable at statehood, a requirement for the State to be able to claim the land under the river.
Also on August 2, 2013, the State Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) had declined to issue Alcoa a 401 Water Quality Permit, necessary for Alcoa's relicensing at the federal level, based solely on the State's lawsuit claiming ownership of the river bed. An Administrative Judge had previously ruled that DENR's actions were invalid. On September 25th, Superior Court Judge G. Bryan Collins, Jr. upheld the previous ruling. He gave DENR another 30 days to act on Alcoa's application (previously submitted), and ruled that failure to do so would constitute waiver by DENR of its opportunity to act on the application.
In the latter court hearing, information came to light that secret meetings had been held between DENR's lawyers, the Governor's lawyers, and officials of the Department of Administration and Attorney General's office during the last week of July and first few days of August, 2013.