Friday, October 30, 2015
Judge Allows One Landowners Suit to Go Forward
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A Davidson County judge today allowed a suit challenging the legality of a permit issued by the state for the construction of a 12-mile pipeline serving the US Nitrogen plant in Midway to go forward.
In a session of a little under one hour, Chancery Court Judge Claudia Bonnyman dismissed another parallel suit turned filed by opponents of the pipeline.
Attorneys for the Tennessee Department of Transportation had argued that the landowners lacked the legal standing to challenge the permit issued for the pipeline to the Nolichucky River.
"We are alive and standing," said Nashville attorney Elizabeth Murphy, who represents the landowners.
Murphy said she will now file an amended complaint and the next step in the suit could be an effort to conduct depositions and subpoena documents.
Murphy said the remaining case will now go forward on the issue of whether TDOT had the legal authority to issue the permit.
She has asked for a for a declaratory judgment that the agency exceeded its authority when it issued the permit last year.
Though the pipeline is apparently complete, the plant, which will produce ammonium nitrate, is not yet in operation. A phased-in startup is expected by the end of the calendar year.