Thursday, November 3, 2016
Third Appeal Filed on US Nitrogen Permit
By Walter F. Roche Jr.
A third eastern Tennessee resident has filed an appeal of the renewal of a controversial permit allowing US Nitrogen to discharge millions of gallons of water per week into the Nolichucky River.
The appeal, filed with the state Department of Environment and Conservation and the state Board for Water Quality, Oil and Gas, charges that the five year permit allows US Nitrogen to "exploit" the river by taking millions of gallons of free water per day from the river and "pouring chemically altered water back into the Nolichucky River."
The appeal filed by area resident Ann P. Harris, is the third to be filed since TDEC announced it was renewing the US Nitrogen permit for five more years. Other appeals have been filed by Park Overall and Stan Olmstead.
Harris wrote that the scope of the river use by US Nitrogen required an environmental impact statement (EIS), despite TDEC's conclusion that such a review was not required.
Charging that the project "does require an EIS. Nothing less can suffice," Harris wrote. "The Nolichucky is listed as an impaired river. This action, by the extension of this permit...is clearly an illegal action against the Clean Water Act," the appeal states.
Asserting that the use of the river water will surely impact local citizens, Harris wrote that the state agency also had failed to provide adequate notice to residents of neighboring counties who also will be impacted.
"The governor is giving away a natural resource of this state," Harris continued, referring to Gov. Bill Haslam. "The natural resources of the state of Tennessee belong to the people of the state. The governor does not have the authority to give them away," she concluded.
TDEC officials have defended the Oct. 3 decision to renew the permit til Oct. 31, 2020, concluding that US Nitrogen's operations will have a minimal impact on the Nolichucky.