WASHINGTON, D.C. – A news story reported and Blue Wolf Capital Partners have confirmed they would no longer pursue the purchase of the idled Alcoa Intalco smelter in Ferndale, WA, after it was clear the company would not be able to affordably purchase the clean power needed to run the facility. The primary aluminum facility halted production in May 2020, laying off nearly 700 union workers. Currently, there are only five smelters in operation across the United States—none west of the Mississippi.
In response to the announcement, the BlueGreen Alliance released the following statement from Executive Director Jason Walsh:
“The U.S. primary aluminum industry has been in steady decline for the last several decades, shipping jobs overseas and importing pollution as our country purchases foreign goods made with lower environmental and labor standards—often from countries that are not our allies. A company was ready to change that by reopening the Intalco aluminum smelter and creating good union jobs making the clean aluminum we need to power our clean energy future here in the United States.
“The blame for the collapse of this effort falls squarely on the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). Instead of choosing to support good, domestic manufacturing jobs in Washington State—and fulfill its self-described mission as ‘an engine of economic prosperity in the Pacific Northwest’—BPA refused to negotiate a reasonable industrial power rate for the facility, forcing Intalco to fall back on wholesale electricity prices that are reaching historic highs. Their short-sighted decision cost workers in Washington good union jobs and prevented us from manufacturing a vital component to clean technology here at home.
“The electricity price volatility caused by Russia’s war on Ukraine has handicapped our communities, underscoring our need to produce more clean energy resources in our own country and rely less on imports. Instead of supporting U.S. manufacturing, BPA has set us back significantly in the effort to revitalize aluminum manufacturing in Washington State and across the country and sabotaged a clear climate, jobs, and energy security win for our nation.”