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Elected officials and Alcoa leaders broke ground at the Massena East plant last July, but Alcoa still hasn't committed to completing the construction project. The plant has since closed, at least temporarily. Photo: Julie Grant
Elected officials and Alcoa leaders broke ground at the Massena East plant last July, but Alcoa still hasn't committed to completing the construction project. The plant has since closed, at least temporarily. Photo: Julie Grant

Is Alcoa committed to its future in Massena?

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One of the North Country's largest private sector employers, Alcoa, is stepping back on its commitment to Massena. But the aluminum giant still got a $30 million discount from the state on its electricity bill. That's the crux of a story WWNY-TV broke earlier this week.

Since Alcoa shuttered its East plant in Massena in January, state officials have been scrambling to rework a deal that would have guaranteed 900 jobs in exchange for cheap electricity from the hydropower dam New York owns on the St. Lawrence River. The company also said it would invest $600 million to modernize the East plant with a new high-tech smelter. But Alcoa's board has yet to sign off on that plan.

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Reported by

David Sommerstein
Reporter/ Producer

In March, Alcoa's job commitment was downgraded to 750 positions. The state-owned New York Power Authority also said it would "waive two utility charges". WWNY's John Friot pressed NYPA for dollar amounts, and learned the waiver amounted to $30-40 million over four years.

"At this stage of the game," Friot says, "it looks like Alcoa holds all the cards."

Friot says the union officials he spoke with are nervous that the East modernization project will never move forward. "They are really pressing Alcoa now to stand up and say, 'yes, it is' or 'no, it's not', and stop dangling the carrot."

Click "Listen" to hear David Sommerstein's interview with WWNY-TV's John Friot.

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