By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A Davidson court official has taken under advisement motions to throw out a suit brought by landowners opposed to a 12-mile pipeline in Greene County being constructed by US Nitrogen.
Chancellor Russell Perkins Friday indicated he could rule on the matter within the next two weeks.
The case was brought by a group of landowners who are challenging the authority of the Tennessee Department of Transportation to grant a right-of-way permit issued for the US Nitrogen project.
Attorneys for the state argued that the suit was premature and the landowners had failed to exhaust administrative appeals. They also have questioned the right of the landowners to file the suit in the first place.
Elizabeth Murphy, representing the landowners, said that because of a new state law, the permit issued by the state was final 60 days after it was issued Aug. 1 and there was no mechanism for an administrative appeal.
The landowners suit charges that TDOT did not have the legal authority to grant a right-of-way to a company other than a public utility.
The suit, which seeks an immediate halt to the pipeline construction, is one of several ongoing legal challenges to the US Nitrogen project.
The company intends to use the pipeline to pump millions of gallons of water per week from the Nolichucky River to its $200 million ammonium nitrate manufacturing plant now nearing completion in Midway.
The company disclosed Friday that repairs had been completed along the river where the pipeline will be located. They have charged that a cofferdam had been damaged by vandals. US Nitrogen officials said that with the repair completed, work on the pipeline will resume.