Man arrested at U.S. Nitrogen pipeline meeting in Greene County

Man arrested at U.S. Nitrogen pipeline meeting in Greene County

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The permits would give U.S. Nitrogen access to state right of ways needed to build a miles long pipeline from the Nolichucky River to the company’s plant. The permits would give U.S. Nitrogen access to state right of ways needed to build a miles long pipeline from the Nolichucky River to the company’s plant.
Eddie Bruce Overholt (source: Greene County Sheriff's Department) Eddie Bruce Overholt (source: Greene County Sheriff's Department)
By WHITNEY GOOD
6 News Reporter

GREENEVILLE (WATE) - A meeting over a controversial new plant in greene county ended Friday with one man behind bars.

A group has been fighting the U.S. Nitrogen plant and its plans to build a pipeline to dump water into the Nolichucky River.

Dozens of people attended a meeting Friday with the county's Industrial Development Bond Board.

Alex Martin, a UT student concerned about the river, sent in MyReport6 video of one person, Eddie Overholt, being led away in handcuffs and charged with disrupting the meeting.

"Eventually whatever they put in the river, we're going to get in our wells. Knowing it's a chemical company and a fertilizer company, we know what they put in the river," said Overholt.

Overholt is one of many fighting US Nitrogen's plans for a pipeline into the Nolichucky River.

TDOT recently rejected an application for permits needed for the pipeline, and Friday morning's meeting of the Green County Industrial Development Bond Board was to vote if U.S. Nitrogen can apply again.

Overholt says he and several others who are against the pipeline went to the meeting under the impression they would be allowed to speak.

"The board met up at the front of the room at a big table, had us roped off, and they were talking so low nobody could hear," he said.

He says all he did was ask the board members to speak up, and he was accused of disrupting the meeting and led out in handcuffs.

Overholt was also charged with resisting arrest and was put in jail on a $2,000 bond.

He plans to fight the charges.

Overholt says other concerns they have are about one of the board members voting in favor of U.S. Nitrogen.

J.W. Douthat has agreed to sell his property along the Nolichucky River to U.S. Nitrogen for the pipeline, and Overholt says his group believes that is a conflict of interest.

"At my age I don't need it anymore," said Douthat.

6 News asked Douthat why he did not recuse himself from voting.

He says he does not see any need to.

He told 6 News he used to recuse himself when he was on the board for the Old Knox Water District which was working closely with U.S. Nitrogen, but he left his position on that board earlier this year.

He also says he is in favor of the plant, not because he is selling his land, but because of the jobs it will bring to their area.

"If people make good wages they live better, and we deserve to live better, and we deserve to pass it on to the future," said Douthat.

The Industrial Development Bond Board did vote in favor of U.S. Nitrogen applying for the permits again.

Tom Ferguson, President of the Green County Chamber, gave 6 News a statement saying in part that the board took appropriate action.

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