Thursday, August 20, 2015
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A vote on whether to accept a proposed settlement in a lawsuit challenging a key aspect of the US Nitrogen project has been scheduled for Sept. 9 by the Industrial Development Board of Greeneville and Greene County.
Notice of the 8:30 a.m. meeting of the panel was published this week. The notice also states that residents who wish to speak at the meeting must call the county mayor's office at 798-1766 by 9:30 a.m. Sept. 8.
The settlement will likely end a suit filed by the Old Knox Utility District challenging part of the US Nitrogen project that will bypass the district by pumping water from the Nolichucky River.
The 11-page agreement already has been approved by the utility district board. US Nitrogen officials have also signaled agreement.
Under the agreement US Nitrogen, Yara North America and Praxair "or related, substitute, or other entities" will be able to use a 12-mile double barrelled pipeline to draw water from the river.
Other new companies seeking to use the pipeline would be required to give the utility district a 60-day right of first refusal to provide any needed services.
The inclusion of the two additional companies could overcome concerns by state officials that the pipeline would serve only one company. State transportation officials rejected the original pipeline proposal for that reason.
Under the agreement US Nitrogen will pay $50,000 to the utility district, but half of that total will be set aside for services or improvements to US Nitrogen and the other two companies.
In addition to the $50,000 payment, the agreement calls for US Nitrogen to provide a monthly $10,000 guaranty of payments for potable water that will be used at the Mosheim facility.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A South Carolina company on contract to provide security services to US Nitrogen had its charter to conduct business in the state of Tennessee revoked early this year.
State corporate records show ASG or A Services Group LLC had its authority to conduct business in Tennessee revoked by state officials on Jan. 14, 2015. Filings say the action was taken due to ASG's failure to file an annual report with state tax officials.
Earlier this week US Nitrogen announced it had hired new security personnel who would be working with ASG, which already was under contract with the Greene County ammonium nitrate manufacturing firm.
In a statement issued Wednesday in response to questions about ASG's corporate status, US Nitrogen said that ASG's status had been checked before it was brought on as a subcontractor.
"When US Nitrogen began its relationship with ASG the company was in good standing with the state of Tennessee," the company statement reads.
US Nitrogen officials said ASG has informed them that they are currently working to renew a state business license "that lapsed due to late paperwork filed during an office move."
"US Nitrogen has been assured by ASG that the company has submitted all necessary materials to the state to renew its license. US Nitrogen will follow up to confirm that the company has returned to good standing with the State of Tennessee and will evaluate any further action, as needed," the US Nitrogen statement concluded.
Tennessee corporate records from prior years list Dann Steadman of Greeneville as the resident agent, while Walter A. Glenn of Conway, S.C. is listed as a corporate officer.
US Nitrogen officials have stated that actual operation of the $200 million plant will begin later this calendar year.
Monday, August 17, 2015
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
Officials of US Nitrogen announced today they have hired eight persons who will serve as a permanent security staff for the $200 million Greene County facility.
The hires were announced by Justin Freeark, the company's top official, who also disclosed that a total of 85 employees have been hired to man the plant which will produce ammonium nitrate.
"Our Team is ready" Freeark said in a prepared statement. He added that more than 85 percent of those hired reside in Greene County.
He said some of those employees have been training for over a year.
A company spokeswoman said actual production will begin on a phased basis later this year.
According to the company statement, the new security personnel will be working along with a private security company, A Services Group, already working for US Nitrogen.
The announcement comes as legal challenges to the new facility and a controversial pipeline are making their way through the courts. Last month the state appellate court rebuffed an appeal by one group challenging the legality of the project.
The court found that the appeal had been filed a day after the deadline.
Other challenges include a case pending in Davidson Chancery Court and suits by local residents.