MARILLA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Thursday night, residents in Marilla had their chance to weigh-in on a farmer's plan to store bio-waste on his land, and neighbors are putting up a stink.
Town board members and the bio-waste company that would be involved in the project got an earful from angry residents at the public meeting. Many came prepared, having done their own research on the subject. And many more lived in WNY during the Love Canal incident. At the end of the day, residents say they do not trust that this project is safe.
The plan would see bio-waste stored and converted into organic fertilizer in a tank on Stan Travis's Eastwood Road farm. The company Travis would be working with, Quasar Energy Group, said at the meeting that none of the waste would be hazardous, and there would be no chance it would leak and pollute the soil and water.
But those at the meeting accused the company of telling flat-out lies.
"It's sewage. However you want to add it up here, it's just garbage," said one man. "If you want that in your neighborhood, go ahead. I think we have enough [expletive] in this town already."
A female resident added, "We're out here because we like this rural country with all of our wildlife, our farms... don't mess it up. Please."
Ed Summers said, "If I lived here, I'd say no, period. Because in my experience, from many years of living in an industrial neighborhood, I'm telling you, you don't need this."
And Margaret Wooster of Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper questioned, "What assurances are in place? What types of monitoring are conducted to ensure the stream going through the property and the groundwater is not contaminated?"
Quasar insists Travis as well as the State DEC will be monitoring to make sure no harm is done to the environment. But the people of Marilla are angry the town passed up the opportunity to have direct oversight.
"Marilla is a very laid back, quiet community and I don't think we want this," one resident said.
Marilla Town Supervisor George Getz said, "The town board members are here. We're not just sitting by and saying we're going to railroad this through. I'm not protecting anybody; I'm doing my job. We're listening to all sides."
Quasar does not yet have a permit from the State DEC to move forward with this project. The DEC is opening a public comment period through September 19. After that, the DEC may hold its own public hearing, and then the Marilla Town Board will take a vote to decide.
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