- Associated Press - Thursday, September 10, 2015

GREENEVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A settlement appears close in a lawsuit filed over a pipeline that would transport water to and from the Nolichucky River for use by an industrial chemical plant.

The Greeneville Sun (https://bit.ly/1J0oFHv) reports the Industrial Development Board of Greeneville and Greene County voted on Wednesday to approve the proposed agreement, which calls for the Old Knoxville Highway Utility District drop its lawsuit against US Nitrogen and for the company to, among other things, pay the utility $50,000, and give it first right of refusal for any new customers.

The utility district had said the pipeline would infringe on its right to supply water to any entities in its boundaries.

The utility gave its approval to the proposal in July and US Nitrogen indicated in a statement that it also will accept the terms.

“Old Knoxville Highway Utility District will be a valuable partner as we near the completion and start-up of our state-of-the-art plant,” the statement said. “US Nitrogen will also purchase a higher volume of water for a period of several months during the initial startup phases. US Nitrogen will be a long-term monthly customer of the utility district, purchasing potable water needed for its facility from the utility district.”

Before the vote was taken, several people objected to the pipeline, including Knoxville attorney Scott Hurley, who represents about 100 landowners in Greene, Cocke and Hamblen counties who also have filed lawsuits seeking to stop the pipeline. He said the agreement unfairly benefits the company.

“This is a form of welfare, but it’s corporate welfare,” Hurley said. “My clients oppose it.”

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Information from: The Greeneville Sun, https://www.greenevillesun.com

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