Answer Community’s Call for Help and Curtail Harmful Pollutant

Target: Bob Martineau, Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation

Goal: Be proactive in tackling the hidden environmental and biological dangers of nitrogen.

Residents in the heart of Appalachia have spoken out against a dangerous newcomer to their community for over three years… and no one has listened. When the US Nitrogen plant began construction in Greene County, Tennessee in 2014, protesters warned against the environmental hazards. Now, nearly four years later, these fears have come to fruition for citizens in nearby communities.

As curls of rusty smoke and foul odors continually emanate from the plant, whispers of danger in the community have grown into a vocal call for action. Two nitric acid leaks, less than five months apart, resulted in no notification to residents living near the plant until well after the incident had occurred. Despite pleas for at the very least a public emergency alert system, the region remains vulnerable to the potentially devastating effects of a more serious incident.

Ironically, nitrogen is utilized in many industries as a protective agent, as it weeds out ‘contaminants’  like oxygen. In areas where nitrogen is plentiful, oxygen levels deplete rapidly. This very phenomenon has led to numerous asphyxiation workplace deaths with nitrogen as a culprit. As imagined, the effects on all living things in the proximity of an environment brimming with nitrogen are unknown at best and catastrophic at worst. Even before the Tennessee plant officially opened, some vocal residents fought against the installation of a plant pipeline that would run through a local river, potentially letting contaminated water readily seep into the environment.

Concerns have only increased over time, but to little effect. Concerned citizens have reached out to US Nitrogen itself, county officials, the Appalachian Public Interest Environmental Law Conference, and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation, yet pleas have thus far gone unanswered, due in large part to the company’s ‘self-regulating’ nature.

The plight of these citizens mirrors the struggles of citizens nationwide: victims of increasing deregulation and decreasing accountability. The still-unresolved Flint water crisis is only the most recent and renowned example, but similar stories of deafness to persistent community protest unfold every day. Sign this petition and help the residents of Greene County—and all individuals—get their voices heard loud and clear.


Dear Commissioner Martineau,

Concerned citizens of Greene County recently implored your aid with a problem that could affect them, their children, and their community for decades to come. These individuals expressed well founded concerns about operations at the US Nitrogen plant. Given that this company experienced two ‘accidental’ emissions in the past year, with no public notification until well after the fact, these concerns are more than mere worries. They are urgent alerts.

Nitrogen can be a dangerous substance. It can wreak havoc on the health of—and even kill—any living thing if it is handled carelessly. Many workplace fatalities correlated with nitrogen have occurred over the years. The excessive algae growth and nitrates resulting from surplus nitrogen can also harm ecosystems and living beings. The insidious effect on the environment and the subsequent long-term wellness of this community cannot, and should not, be ignored.

Take action now, before a lawsuit or a more devastating accident forces you to take action. Listen to the community members who know their town and who now plead for its life and well-being. Hold US Nitrogen accountable and demand it prove its value as a trusted, contributing member of the community.


[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: David Pirmann

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  1. Rosslyn Osborne says:

    Our planet’s oceans, forests and soils work constantly for humanity. They are acting as vast storehouses for greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane. Our planet’s astounding biodiversity provides for every single human need. Humans everywhere spend every working day connected to nature; by the foods we eat from the fertile soils and the natural water we drink all come from our generous earth, and we stake our very lives upon it.

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