In an unprecedented move, the State's newly-created Division of Water Resources, which includes the old Division of Water Quality, recently waived a needed 401 Water Quality Certificate for a controversial project to create a new reservoir in Cleveland County.
In an article in the Charlotte Observer, reporter Bruce Henderson mentioned that they certainly hadn't done that for Alcoa.
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers and the EPA, along with local residents, oppose the new reservoir which would flood 1,500 acres of forest and farmland, destroying 24 miles of streams, six acres of wetlands and a federally-threatened plant community. One DWR staff member had noted that the submitted application was not complete.
The decision last month came after Republican-led legislators ordered regulators to collaborate with communities in building reservoirs.
Let me be clear. I think DENR/DWR should issue (not waive) a 401 Water Quality Certificate for Alcoa's project. But I also think they should apply the same rules to everyone else.