By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Landowners along a proposed Greene County pipeline are asking a judge to order an immediate halt to construction of a 12-mile long conduit to to the Nolichucky River.
In a motion filed late last week in chancery court the attorney for the landowners charged that his clients will suffer immediate and irreparable harm unless the rapidly proceeding project is halted.
The motion for a temporary injunction states that the actions taken by the Industrial Development Board for Greeneville and Greene County are void because the approval of the pipeline project took place at a July 18 meeting held in violation of the state Open Meeting Act.
The motion comes in a suit filed by the landowners in which they contend that the IDB lacks the legal authority to own the pipeline, which will be used by US Nitrogen.
Asked to comment on the filing, US Nitrogen spokeswoman Amanda Jennings said that the work on the pipeline will continue.
"The pipeline represents a significant investment by US Nitrogen in the future of Greene County. US Nitrogen and the IDB will continue construction on the pipeline as scheduled," she wrote in an email.
The landowners' motion, however, cites the ongoing construction as a reason for seeking an immediate halt to the project.
"At the present time the installation of the pipeline has begun and is rapidly proceeding and it is anticipated the entire project will be completed long before an ajudication on the merits of the plaintiffs' lawsuit can be had," the motion filed by attorney D. Scott Hurley states.
The motion comes in one of several ongoing legal challenges to the pipeline which will transport millions of gallons of water to and from the Nolichucky River.
The water is needed to accommodate the multimillion dollar ammonium nitrate plant being built for US Nitrogen.