Dozens rally to "Save the Nolichucky" from pollution at Greene C

Dozens rally to "Save the Nolichucky" from pollution at Greene Co. plant

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People came together Saturday for a "Save the Nolichucky" rally in Hamblen County People came together Saturday for a "Save the Nolichucky" rally in Hamblen County
For many in Cocke County The Nolichucky River is a way of life. For many in Cocke County The Nolichucky River is a way of life.
By WHITNEY GOOD
6 News Reporter

NEWPORT (WATE) - Dozens of people worry a new plant will pollute their river. They fish in the Nolichucky River and get their water from it.

Now, the people are coming together, first with a "Save the Nolichucky" rally in Hamblen County. Saturday night, even more people came out for the cause, this time in Cocke County.

For many in Cocke County The Nolichucky River is a way of life.

"The river here is really the heart of the community. Everything revolves around the river. It's a pristine waterway. We all fish. We all hunt. We feed our farms with the river. Most of the people here irrigate," said Alex Martin, co-owner of the Nolichucky Vineyard.

A company called US nitrogen is putting a new plant on the river in Greene County.

It would pull water in from the Nolichucky, but some worry the water dumped back in would be polluted.

The fear for many is the levels of ammonia and other chemicals that may be in it--levels they believe could threaten not only their lives but the wildlife that depend on the waters, including three species of endangered mussels.

'If you're doing damage to those mussels you know it's like the canary in the coal mine, you know that you're doing damage to the rest of the aquatic community," said Scott Banbury with the Tennessee Chapter of the Sierra Club. He traveled from Memphis to be at Saturday's Rally.

Now dozens of people are putting up a fight.

They are signing petitions and sending letters to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC) and legislators hoping to stop the permits from being approved--hoping to save the Nolichucky.

"It is very much a part of the way of life here," said Martin.

The US Nitrogen is expected to create up to 80 jobs for the area and begin operating later this year.

The company says the levels of contaminants that would be put into the river are minimal and would meet all regulations.
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