Judges won't rehear riverbed rights claim of original states

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A narrowly split federal appeals court won't rehear a case claiming the 13 original U.S. states owned riverbeds from the time they split from Great Britain.

The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia, voted 8-7 against North Carolina's continuing efforts for a say in the operations and ownership of four hydroelectric dams.

Last week's decision means the last hope for the lawsuit first filed by Republican Gov. Pat McCrory in 2013 would be if the U.S. Supreme Court decides to hear it.

The dispute involves the future of Yadkin River dams originally built to power a now-closed Alcoa aluminum smelter a century ago.

The electricity generated by the dams has been sold commercially since the smelter that once employed 1,000 workers closed a decade ago.