Marilla, NY -- Thursday night, about sixty neighbors packed the Marilla town council meeting to oppose a permit application made by a farmer to allow an Ohio company to operate a holding tank on his land.
The neighbors are worried the proposed tank could leak and harm the environment.
But, no matter how much complaining they do, the decision is not up to the town board.
"Can we believe you guys that you are against this? I was born here. Can we believe you guys? Warren, can I believe that you're against it? All my dad did for you?" shouted Donna Mayes as she addressed a board member.
"All I can tell you, right now, is we will follow whatever the law is," said Town Councilmember Warren Handley.
Shortly after that exchange, another Marilla resident at the meeting was kicked out for yelling.
With the state Department of Environmental Conservation's decision on whether to allow Quasar Energy Group to operate a holding tank on the Marilla farm still pending, Thursday night neighbors demanded to know why the town board can't stop it from happening. The answer is simple.
"The people are a little ticked off about this," said one man who says he lives in Marilla.
"Sir, I am fully aware of that. We've been hearing about this for three months. We are not ignoring anything. But, there is nothing before this board. Just because he put an application in a permit doesn't mean he's going to get it," says Marilla Town Supervisor George Gertz.
The tank is on Stanley Travis' land. He owns the farm on Eastwood Road. While Travis did not want to go on camera, we did talk with him for about an hour. He tells us the tank would take bio waste that would otherwise end up in a landfill and convert it into a type of new fertilizer.
"The opinion of this board is that if it's a commercial operation, it's illegal in the town of Marilla," says Gertz.
"Were there any concerns about our health and the well water and the contaminants on the fields?" asked one resident.
"That's what the DEC is looking into, right now," says Gertz.
Bottom line, the DEC will decide whether the tank would have a negative impact on the environment, and that won't happen until the comment period ends Thursday.
Gertz says the town is town is now looking at possibly hiring an environmental attorney based on the DEC's decision.