LCRA: ‘Too early’ for Alcoa pact info
The Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA) signed a preliminary purchase agreement with Alcoa, and made its first public appearance in the Milam County area during the past week, but there are still more questions than answers about the river authority’s plans.
LCRA is now in a six-month “due diligence” phase, working out the details of its planned purchase of 34,000 acres at the site of Rockdale Operations, where Alcoa shut down a six-potline smelter in 2008-9.
Kyle Jensen, executive manager of external affairs for LCRA, was at the quarterly meeting of the Community Advisory Panel to Alcoa’s Rockdale Operations (CAPARO) Monday at the Alcoa Lake Training Center.
He repeated the river authority’s statement that the Alcoa purchase was part of LCRA’s goal to acquire an additional 100,000 acre-feet of water for the state’s needs.
But specific details of the purchase will have to wait.
The Reporter posed a number of questions to Clara Tuma, LCRA spokesperson, over the pending pact. Questions included:
• Will LCRA apply before the Post Oak Savannah Groundwater District for a transport permit, to ship water produced from permits acquired by Alcoa out of the district (Milam and Burleson counties)?
• Would power acquired through assumption of generation contracts from Alcoa be moved into the state grid by LCRA?
• How does Alcoa Lake, which would also be assumed by LCRA, play into the river authority’s plans?
• Alcoa had promised to donate reclaimed land, and a smaller lake, for a public park. Is that also going to be part of LCRA’s plans?
“These are all questions LCRA will look at during the due diligence process,” Tuma said. “It’s too early to give answers to any of the questions you asked.”
Also to be determined is whether LCRA will pay any taxes in Milam County.
As a conservation and reclamation district of the state, the LCRA is generally tax exempt, although its affiliates, LCRA Transmission Services and Centex Power Corp., pay both property and sales taxes.
Alcoa, even with the smelter closed, has continued to pay taxes to the county and school district.