Monday, July 25, 2016
US Nitrogen Opponents File Comments
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
In a flurry of last minute filings, opponents of a key permit for the $200 million US Nitrogen Greene County project ran up to the 5 p.m. deadline today, even as the facility nears full operation.
The filings, which were posted on the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation website, show dozens of area residents oppose the granting of a five-year permit allowing US Nitrogen to dump some two million gallons of water per day into the Nolichucky River.
As of the 5 p.m. deadline only one local resident had registered support for the project and the permit. On the last day for comment alone, 10 area residents urged disapproval of the permit renewal.
Meanwhile TDEC records show US Nitrogen has filed a startup notice for its anhydrous ammonia production plant.
In earlier filings the company's top local official Andrew Velo notified TDEC of the startup of other operations including a nitric acid plant, a gasoline distribution facility and a flare system.
In the latest comments opponents of the permit warned that it would have a serious negative impact on the river and endangered species who live within its banks.
"We do not need to pollute our waterways," wrote Terry English.
Ann Harris charged that officials failed to notify residents of neighboring counties who will be impacted. She also questioned why the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency had not become involved and why an environmental impact study had not been performed.
"Where is the EPA?" she asked repeatedly.
"We don't want our river poisned," wrote Elizabeth Malone, who noted her family relies on well water.
Bonnie Hilliard of Sullivan County also submitted comments opposing the permit.