Saturday, April 25, 2015

Yara Posts Profits

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Cofferdam on Nolichucky Won't Be Replaced

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A cofferdam on the Nolichucky River was damaged during recent severe weather and a spokeswoman for US Nitrogen says it will not be replaced.
The cofferdam became completely submerged during recent storms, according to local residents, with only a small section of blue plastic showing above the river's waterline. It was constructed as part of a $200 million project to build an ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility in neighboring Greene County.
Company spokeswoman Amanda Jennings said Tuesday the construction on the riverbed had already been completed and the cofferdam was scheduled to be removed in a few days.
"No delay are anticipated in the completion of the pipeline and the water system," she said in an email response to questions.
Her comments come just a day after a Cocke County board voted to ask the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to complete an environmental impact report on the effect of the pipeline on Cocke County.
Opponents of the project had asked the commission to seek the environmental review.
Jennings said that prior to the vote US Nitrogen officials had presented the board with documentation of the permits and approvals the project has obtained from state, federal and local agencies.
The 12 mile pipeline will be used to take a million gallons of water per day from the river for use in the manufacturing process.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Cansler Land History Includes Hazardous Waste Charges

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

It was more than two decades ago when state and local officials held a news conference to announce a series of indictments stemming from a two year investigation of charges that a foam rubber manufacturing firm had engaged in widespread illegal dumping of hazardous wastes.
Some of that illegal disposal, the indictment charged, occurred on acres of Greene County farmland owned by the Cansler family.
Employees of Recticel, the indictment charged, buried "drums, containers and boxes containing hazardous waste at a dairy farm and other property in Greene County owned and leased by Steve Cansler."
Steve Cansler and the company Recticel, later renamed Foamex, were among those indicted. Cansler was identified as a maintenance supervisor for Recticel.
At the Sept. 8, 1992 press conference then U.S. Attorney Jerry G. Cunningham called the case the largest prosecution ever brought in the state of Tennessee for environmental violations.
Now some 23 years later Greene County properties once owned by the Cansler family are in the headlines again as the subsidiary of an Ohio explosives manufacturer is putting the final touches on a facility that will produce millions of gallons of ammonium nitrate a week. To make way for that project, US Nitrogen purchased hundreds of acres of county property and Cansler family holdings accounted for a substantial portion.
Even before the indictments, state environmental officials had warned of illegal hazardous waste disposal in Greene County and specifically referred to findings on Cansler family property
"No one knows where all the waste has gone. We'll never be able to account for all of it," D. Larry Gilliam, then a top state environmental official told a reporter for Trilogy magazine in the Spring of 1992.
State and county land records show several properties owned by the Canslers or related companies were sold to US Nitrogen.
They include 43.5 acres from Johnnie Cansler for a $500,000 purchase price in February of 2012. A month earlier US Nitrogen purchased 74.5 acres from Cansler for $558,750.
Records of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicate two sites on the Cansler properties have been listed as hazardous waste sites. One site was described as a dairy barn. The second was located on Route 1 in Midway.
On one site alone state and federal enforcement records list 37 violations dating back to the early 90s.
Though published reports in 1993 state that Cansler entered a guilty plea to two counts of the 1992 indictment, he denied in a brief telephone interview that he did so. Asked if any of the pollution sites were sold to US Nitrogen , he said, "I can't help you."
He hung up when asked to explain.
US Nitrogen officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Records do show that some of the charges against Recticel were overturned.

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Hearing Set For Monday in New Pipeline Suit

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

A new suit aimed at blocking a pipeline to the Nolichucky River has been set for 1 p.m. Monday before Chancery Judge Claudia Bonnyman in Nashville.
The case was assigned to Bonnyman earlier this week after Chancellor Russell Perkins recused himself from a related suit citing his friendship with the attorney representing the Tennessee Deparment of Transportation.
The new suit parallels another filed in Nashville challenging the authority of TDOT to issue a permit to build the 10 mile double barreled pipeline from the US Nitrogen plant to the Nolichucky River.
The latest challenge focuses on charges that the pipeline is intruding on property owned by the Renner family and Don Bible.
US Nitrogen has repeatedly denied that the pipeline is being built on private property.
Perkins abrupt recusal came as a surprise since he had been presiding over the parallel suit for several weeks. Both suits include TDOT as a defendant.
A hearing also is expected in yet another legal challenge pending in Greene County Chancery Court.
The pipeline, which is nearing completion, is expected to bring over 1 million gallons of water a day to US Nitrogen's new ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility.