Had Been Approved
Earlier This Year
BY SARAH R. GREGORY
The Greeneville Board of Mayor and Aldermen officially gave approval to an agreement with US Nitrogen having to do with fire safety and fire training.
The industry, which is expected to begin operations at Midway in 2014, will construct a special fire training facility in return for automatic aid from the Greeneville Fire Department in the event of an emergency.
US Nitrogen will manufacture liquid ammonium nitrate, which is to be transported from Greene County to facilities in the Midwest operated by US Nitrogen's parent company, Austin Powder Company.
US Nitrogen officials have stated repeatedly that liquid ammonium nitrate will neither burn nor explode unless combined with other chemical elements which will not be present at the local facility.
The chemical process used to produce the liquid ammonium nitrate also produces ammonia, which is fully consumed in the manufacturing process, company officials have said.
VERBAL AGREEMENT EARLIER
Earlier this year, the board voted unanimously to enter into a verbal agreement with US Nitrogen under the same conditions.
In the months since, attorneys for the company and the Town's attorney, Ron Woods, have signed off on a written agreement that clarified liability issues.
"This agreement does establish an automatic aid response with Midway [Volunteer] Fire Department," Greeneville Fire Chief Mark Foulks said.
"We would respond on anything going on -- fire, hazardous materials, or rescue-wise -- at the US Nitrogen facility."
Foulks described the agreement as "a win-win" for both parties.
"We'll be training together to handle any emergency that could take place at the plant," he said.
US Nitrogen Operating Manager Marty Moon was at the meeting to answer questions from the board.
He said that the training formats are currently under development, but plans are to jointly-train US Nitrogen employees alongside members of the Greeneville Fire Department.
"What I've used in the past is that we would train quarterly in any of the areas of HAZ-MAT (hazardous materials-related), a significant level of fire brigade, or even rescue," Moon said.
"Particularly with the HAZ-MAT training, it's very, very nice that you can train with local firefighters because you'll normally have to work with those individuals if you have an incident.
"This training facility would be a very effective tool in promoting that [level of cooperation]," he said.
The training facility will be located on Baileyton Road, on land owned by the Greeneville Light & Power System.
That location, Foulks said, will allow Greeneville Fire Department personnel to remain on-duty while at the facility.
Foulks publicly thanked GL&PS General Manager Bill Carroll for assistance with a lease agreement.
"Bill has worked with us on the site we're going to be using, which is adjacent to his operations facility, and essentially is going to be doing a lease agreement on that site with us for very little if any cost at all," Foulks said.
Foulks said the location will be good for training purposes.
"It's accessible to us, but it's remote enough that we're not going to disrupt any neighborhood or community," he said.
After Foulks and Moon answered a few brief questions from the board, Alderman Buddy Hawk expressed his support for the measure, saying, "This is a reciprocal agreement between US Nitrogen and the Town of Greeneville.
"I think we should all support it."
As with a vote in April that established the verbal agreement, aldermen voted unanimously in favor of the written agreement.