By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Four Greene County residents have filed suit charging that a controversial 12-mile pipeline was illegally installed on their property and they are seeking up to $2.5 million in damages.
The six-page suit filed today in Greene County Circuit Court names as defendants US Nitrogen and the Industrial Development Board of Greeneville and Greene County.
The complaint seeks up to $500,000 in regular damages and up to $2 million in punitive damages.
"Despite repeated warnings the defendants and their agents entered upon the private property of the plaintiffs without permission, consent or any right to do so," the suit states.
It charges that not only were parts of the pipeline placed on private property, but the defendants unlawfully appropriated truckloads of dirt and soil belonging to the plaintiffs.
Those filing the suit are Donahue Bible, Jack and Margaret Renner and Donna Snowden.
The suit is but the latest in a series of legal challenges to the pipeline which will be used to supply water to US Nitrogen's $200 million ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility.
Plans call for more than a million gallons of water per day to be pumped from the Nolichucky River to the US Nitrogen plant.
One legal challenge to the plant and pipeline was rebuffed last week in a ruling by Greene County Chancellor Douglas Jenkins. Another challenge is pending in Davidson County Chancery Court.
Officials of US Nitrogen have insisted that the pipeline was being properly placed on the rights-of-way for Routes 340 and 348.
The new suit charges that US Nitrogen and the IDB engaged in "outrageous conduct" and were intentionally reckless thus justifying an award for punitive damages.