posted on August 02, 2012 10:36
It started four years ago as an uneven fight: Five rural County Commissioners against a multi-national conglomerate with plants from Iceland to Arabia – so, losing ground, the Commissioners who’re Republicans turned to the Democratic Governor for help and got it in an odd way: The Governor helped but, at the same time, her Department of Natural Resources joined hands with Alcoa in a lawsuit against the Commissioners. Alcoa even flew in a lawyer from Los Angeles to try the state’s case and it turned out he was the same lawyer who’d defended the nefarious power company in the movie Erin Brockovich.
Toward the end of the trial the discouraged County Commissioners were on the ropes but then, unexpectedly, manna fell from heaven – Alcoa’s executives admitted under oath they’d been misleading their state allies about the pollution at their dams.
The Commissioners got a reprieve but after that the fight dragged on and on as the Commissioners watched their treasury get emptier and emptier until they were on the ropes again – then, out of a clear blue sky, manna fell from heaven a second time.
The Commissioners got a call from a company they’d never heard of – AltaGas – which was interested in buying Alcoa’s hydroelectric dams;– – better still, AltaGas was willing to share profits from the dams with a local commission (to help create jobs) and, in time, the commission would be able to buy the dams for a reasonable price then use all the hydroelectricity to create jobs.
Thanking their lucky stars the Commissioners announced they were ready to end their long hard battle with Alcoa – if Alcoa would agree to sell its dams to Alta Gas.
And that sounds like a hard blow to the Commissioners but, on the other hand, a little bit of unexpected salvation goes a long way and those Commissioners have now been saved twice when they didn’t expect it.