Monday, July 17, 2017

US Nitrogen Drew Some 29 Million Gallons From Nolichucky

By Walter F. Roche Jr.

Belatedly posted reports filed with Tennessee environmental officials show US Nitrogen pumped nearly 30 million gallons of water from the Nolichucky River in May and June.
The monthly reports were not posted on the Department of Conservation and Environment until today although they were dated June 15 and July 10. The monthly reports are required under US Nitrogen's state permit.
A TDEC spokesman said the reports were submitted on time but the agency was delayed in posting them on its Data Viewer system.
The water is piped to and from the river through 12 mile pipelines. A group of local residents has filed a legal challenge to the permit for the pipelines which was granted by the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Last week a Tennessee appeals court reversed a lower court decision and ruled that the landowners can pursue the legal challenge in Chancery Court in Nashville.
According to the monthly reports US Nitrogen pumped 18.89 million gallons from the river in June and discharged 8.7 million back in to the river. On only two days, June 5 and June 6, no water was pumped from the river.
The largest volume withdrawn in a single day was 1.4 million on June 17.
On seven days during June there was no water discharged in to the river.
In May the company withdrew 10.435 million gallons from the Nolichucky on 22 days. The company discharged 4.8 million back in to the river during the month.The highest amount withdrawn on a single day was 1.175 million gallons on May 19.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Pipeline Opponents Savor Victory

By Walter F. Roche Jr,

Following setback after setback, Eastern Tennessee residents who have been raising the alarm about a major chemical manufacturer locating in Greene County, got some good news this week in a long awaited Tennessee Appeals Court ruling.
The ruling reversed the decision of a Davidson Chancery Court judge who had concluded that a group of six residents could not even raise a series of legal challenges to a state permit allowing a chemical company it to draw some two million gallons of water a day from the Nolichucky River cost free.
Don Bible, who says he could only watch as contractors for US Nitrogen LLC, laid a pipeline across his property, says the appeals court ruling restored his faith, at least for the moment, in Tennessee law.
“Tuesday night after the court of appeals ruling...I went to bed with a lot more respect for Tennessee law than I have had for the last three years.”
The appeals court ruling concluded that Bible, one of the six plaintiffs, did indeed have the legal standing to challenge the permit issued by the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
The same was true, the court concluded for the five other plaintiffs who filed suit challenging the TDOT permit that authorized US Nitrogen to install dual 10 mile pipelines from its Midway ammonium nitrate manufacturing facility to the Nolichucky River.
US Nitrogen officials did not respond to requests for comment on the court decision.
Under the ruling the challenge will now go back to Davidson Chancery Court where the judge will hear the case of the six residents, who all live along the Nolichucky.
"From the first everyone knew that stealing land is against the law," said Ann Harris, a longtime opponent, adding that "free water was always the goal."
Park Overall, a vocal opponent, said she was "beside myself with joy" when she learned of the ruling.
The decision comes as one local official has proposed that the county commissioners revoke the rezoning that made it possible for US Nitrogen to locate in Greene County.
County Commissioner Eddie Jennings said his resolution would effectively revoke the 2011 rezoning that enabled the ammonium nitrate manufacturer to locate in the county.
Under his resolution the US Nitrogen site would revert to agricultural zoning and the company would have one year to vacate the premises.
Jennings has acknowledged his effort will face legal challenges, but says that the resolution will at the least provide an opportunity to question US Nitrogen officials about what he says are their broken promises.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Bids Sought for Firefighter Training Facility

Greeneville officials are seeking proposals from contractors to build a new firefighter training facility that is being partially financed by US Nitrogen.
A formal request for proposals has been issued calling for responses by an Aug. 2 deadline.
According to the announcement the facility will be located at 795 Baileytown Road.
US Nitrogen donated $50,000 to help finance the project which will be constructed from shipping containers. The company is also donating 15 of the 40 foot containers, which are currently at US Nitrogen's facility on Pottertown Road in Midway.
The contractor will be responsible for moving the containers to the fire training site, which has already been prepared for construction.
Greeneville officials have stated that the training facility will be five stories high.
There will be a pre-bid meeting on July 12 at 10 a.m. at the Central Fire Hall.
Further details are available on the Town of Greeneville website.