Thursday, August 4, 2016
US Nitrogen, IDB Challenge Court Appeal
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
The Greene County industrial board and US Nitrogen are asking a Nashville judge to reject the appeal filed in behalf of local residents challenging the legality of a state permit allowing construction of a 12-mile pipeline to the Nolichucky River.
In a 13-page joint filing in Davidson Chancery Court lawyers for the county agency and US Nitrogen are charging that the area residents are simply repeating the arguments already rejected by Judge Claudia Bonnyman.
The filing comes before a hearing in Bonnyman's courtroom scheduled for tomorrow.The suit challenges the legality of a permit issued by the Tennessee Department of Transportation authorizing construction of the pipeline along the rights of way of state highways.
Citing Bonnyman's May 5 decision to dismiss the suit, the filing states, "The court did not make any errors in its order and the court was correct in ruling that petitioners lack standing to bring their claims."
The suit was filed by six residents who own property along the Nolichucky River; Ann Calfee, Don Bible, Jack Renner, Jeremiah Cluesman, Ruth Dolin and Rubin Stone. The pipeline goes from US Nitrogen's $200 million ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility in Mosheim to the Nolichucky River.
The six contend TDOT did not have the authority to grant such a permit to a private company which is not a public utility. They also contend the pipeline has negatively impacted their properties.
The Industrial Development Board of Greeneville and Greene County and US Nitrogen, however, argue that the pipeline has already been in operation for six months and has caused no damage.
"Petitioners cannot point to any harm or injury caused by their use during the last half year," the joint filing states.
"With only hypothetical injuries and no adverse effects, petitioners cannot establish standing," the motion states.
The two also charge that the appeal filed by Nashville attorney Elizabeth L. Murphy improperly raises a new argument: that "their ability to farm and use their farmland is affected by the pipelines."
"A motion to alter or amend is not a proper mechanism to present new arguments and theories based on the same facts," the filing continues.
The motion also cites the fact that Bonnyman concluded that the the plaintiffs did not meet any of the three requirements to establish standing.