By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A Greene County Chancery Court judge has delayed any immediate action to halt a controversial pipeline project and set a Jan. 22 date for a hearing on various legal challenges to the ongoing US Nitrogen construction.
Chancery Judge Douglas Jenkins set the trial date during a hearing Monday in a suit brought by a group of local land owners who contend the pipeline, which will pump millions of gallons of water per day to US Nitrogen's manufacturing facility, was illegally approved.
The opponents of the project say they are fearful the pipeline will be completely constructed by the the scheduled hearing date.
Under the judge's decision the landowners will have till Friday to amend their complaint and raise any additional issues.
US Nitrogen and the Industrial Development Board of Greeneville and Greene County will have till Jan. 8 to respond.
Scott Hurley, the landowners' attorney said he was pleased with the outcome.
"The one negative for our side is that the construction of the pipeline can continue at least until Jan. 22, but the court is fully aware that we are contending that the construction is illegal," Hurley said.
The suit is one of four to be filed challenging the project.
The US Nitrogen plant will produce ammonium nitrate.