The General Assembly has created an avenue through which the state may strike a blow to property rights. As reported in the Charlotte Observer on Monday, the General Assembly passed HB972 which is an act to create the Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Cullie Tarleton (D-Watauga) and passed unanimously in the Senate (48-0) and by a large margin in the House (77-21). All 21 representatives voting in the negative were Republicans.
In the bill, the Commission was granted broad authority to enter contracts, own and lease property and “execute all instruments necessary or appropriate to achieve the purposes of the Commission.” It just so happens that the area over which the Commission was granted jurisdiction includes the four dams owned by Alcoa which Governor Perdue has expressed interest in the state commandeering. The governor believes that the state should be the steward of the hydroelectric power produced by the dams as opposed to the current arrangement where Alcoa sells the power.
Governor Perdue has acted to delay the federal relicensing process for Alcoa which is necessary for the business to continue operating the dams and selling power. This, along with the creation of the Uwharrie Regional Resources Commission, signals Governor Perdue’s intention to acquire for the state a well-functioning private enterprise and denotes a fundamentally statist belief system.