By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A chancery court judge in Nashville has turned down a motion filed by US Nitrogen and a Greene County board to dismiss a suit filed by landowners opposed to construction of a 12-mile pipeline to the Nolichucky River.
The decision means the suit filed by residents who live near or along the river can go forward. The suit charges that the Tennessee Department of Transportation did not have the legal authority to grant a permit for the pipeline construction.
The dismissal motion had been filed by lawyers for the state agency. A hearing was held on the suit last month before Chancery Judge Russell T. Perkins.
Ann Calfee, one of the plaintiffs in the case, said she learned of the judge's decision today.
The suit is one of several challenging the pipeline and other actions by state and local officials to accommodate US Nitrogen, which is building a more than $200 million ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility in Greene County.
The suit charges that the state agency lacked the authority to grant the local board permission to use the right of way along two state highways for the pipeline.
In another suit challenging the US Nitrogen project, a Greene County Chancery judge ruled recently that the case challenging the actions of the development board can go to trial.
In both cases, however, the judges have declined to issue orders halting further work on the pipeline. Completion is expected next month.
US Nitrogen plans to take millions of gallons of water per week from the Nolichucky which will be used in the manufacturing process.