A state Senate committee has subpoenaed a documentary about Alcoa from UNC-TV.
Sen. Fletcher Hartsell, a Concord Republican who runs the Judiciary Committee that issued the subpoena, said the station has important information about the company that may be available to the public only through the documentary, reports Lynn Bonner.
"It has to do with public health and other information," he said.
Alcoa, which runs hydroelectric plants along the Yadkin River, has applied to renew its federal license.
Hartsell opposes the renewal and backs a measure that would set up a public trust to handle revenue from the electric production should the state be allowed to buy it.
The issue is pending in the legislature, which will adjourn soon.
Subpoenas went to Tom Howe, UNC-TV director and general manager, and
Eszter Vajda, the station's senior legislative correspondent. A call to UNC-TV was not immediately returned.
As a state agency, the station is obligated to comply with requests for information.
Hartsell said he could see the First Amendment issues related to requesting copies of all documentary footage.
"It's an ironic position," he said. "We're simply trying to get information the public needs."
The documentary will be shown at 9 a.m. in the committee meeting on Tuesday, and will contain information "that will be very revealing to many folks," Hartsell said.
UPDATE: UNC-TV spokesman Steve Volstad said the station has no documentary about Alcoa. He said the material is planned for use in a series of reports for the show "North Carolina Now." "No documentary is contemplated at this time," he said.