(NASHVILLE, TN), June 10, 2009 -- Legislation sponsored by State Senator Doug Overbey (R-Maryville) was approved today in the State Senate urging the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Board of Directors to enter into a long-term contract with Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). The resolution, SJR 622, was approved unanimously after all members of the State Senate signed on to co-sponsor the measure.
“I was very pleased at the overwhelming bi-partisan support of our State Senate on this Resolution,” said Senator Overbey. “Approximately 500 jobs are dependent on restarting the smelter which, in turn, is dependent upon completing this contract. This Resolution sends a message to Congress and the TVA that Tennessee believes it is critical to finalize this contract.”
Alcoa has been in operation in Blount County since 1913, nearly three decades before the TVA was established. Currently its Tennessee Operations, which involve the manufacture of primary aluminum and aluminum can sheet, employs approximately 1,600 persons. The company has an economic impact of more than $3 billion dollars annually in Blount County and East Tennessee.
In March, Alcoa announced a temporary curtailment of its Primary Metals facility and employee layoffs due to economic condition. According to Alcoa officials, a key driver in their ability to restart the plant is whether or not they have a competitive long-term power contract with the Tennessee Valley Authority. Alcoa and the Board of Directors of the Tennessee Valley Authority are currently in good faith negotiations regarding the contract.
“The smelter's power cost is in the top 15 percent of all smelters in North America,” added Overbey. “It is vital that TVA realize the economic impact Alcoa has on Blount County and all East Tennessee.”
The bill calls for the resolution to be delivered to TVA’s Board of Directors and each member of the Tennessee Congressional delegation.