GREENEVILLE, Tenn. -

Environmental activists in East Tennessee are opposing a plan that calls for taking water from the Nolichucky River for use by a Greene County industrial chemical plant and then returning the treated water to the river.

The Associated Press reports that US Nitrogen plans to produce ammonium nitrate, an ingredient used in industrial explosives, at the plant in Midway.

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has granted air and water permits that would allow discharge of the treated water into the river. Representatives of US Nitrogen and local industrial development agencies say the water discharge won't endanger the environment.

But environmental activists are challenging that assertion.

Sierra Club attorney Brian Paddock says he's concerned about the amount of ammonia that might be discharged into the river.