Residents near Nolichucky River concerned about pollution from G

Residents near Nolichucky River concerned about pollution from Greene County plant

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Residents met at the Nolichucky Vineyard in Hamblen County Thursday night for the "Save the Nolichucky Rally". Residents met at the Nolichucky Vineyard in Hamblen County Thursday night for the "Save the Nolichucky Rally".
Alexander Martin helped organize the event. He grew up near the Nolichucky River. Alexander Martin helped organize the event. He grew up near the Nolichucky River.
Retired Cocke County farmer Ron Ellison says he's upset the surrounding counties didn't know about the company's plans to use the river. Retired Cocke County farmer Ron Ellison says he's upset the surrounding counties didn't know about the company's plans to use the river.
By KAYLA STRAYER
6 News Reporter


HAMBLEN COUNTY (WATE) - Residents living near the Nolichucky River contacted 6 News with concerns about pollution from the US Nitrogen plant being built in Greene County.

They met at the Nolichucky Vineyard in Hamblen County Thursday night for the "Save the Nolichucky Rally".

Alexander Martin helped organize the event. He grew up near the Nolichucky River.

"It's very vital. Our water table is extremely low here. The river around here feeds everything. The river is the heart of the community," Martin said.

He's now worried about the future of the water if the plant is allowed to use it, saying the water they plan to dump back in will be contaminated.

"I swim in this river, I fish in this river, I eat things that come out of this river. Does it make me sick? Absolutely," Martin said.

Martin's family owns the Nolichucky Vineyard. He says they depend on the water to grow their crops.

"There is no compromise. There's other options to get their water. Other options to get their waste distribution systems, they need to leave the river alone," Martin said.

Retired Cocke County farmer Ron Ellison says he's upset the surrounding counties didn't know about the company's plans to use the river.

"What really makes me angry is they never notified anybody in Cocke County. It was all in Greene County. Hamblen county, Jefferson County, no one knew about this," Ellison said, adding that his son's dream of building a campground near the river may be jeopardized.

"Everybody has wells, so eventually these toxins are going to get in to our water," said Cocke County resident Eddie Overholt.

Overholt says he depends on clean water to operate his restaurant.

"It makes me feel terrible. Everybody is really up in arms about it because we know we're going to have a polluted water in here," Overholt said.

Overholt's niece, Ann Calfee, says they have just one concern.

"We're not against jobs by no means. We're not against industry coming, we're just against pollution of one of the cleanest rivers in Tennessee," Calfee said.

The residents plan to send in petitions to the Tennessee Division of Water Resources by May 1st.

The plant is expected to create about 80 jobs and begin operating later this year. Company officials are currently trying to obtain permits to use water from the Nolichucky River. They say they're complying with all laws and environmental standards.
    
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