It’s a big day for the Town of Manheim. The Zoning Board of Appeals meets to vote on the special permit requested by Xpress Natural Gas Tuesday night.
The permit would allow the company to build a natural gas filling station along Route 167 in Manheim. The proposed station has sparked outrage among many in the community. Those opposed to the project fear if the Zoning Board approves the special permit, construction could begin as early as this week.
A new group called “Protect Manheim” is making their voices heard speaking out against a proposed fracking infrastructure project. The concerns range from health and environmental risks to a decrease in property value.
"I love where I’m at, it took me years to find where I’m at so now I have to worry and I have to move for my health, my grandchildren's health, my animals' health?" says Robin George of Manheim.
"If something tragic was to happen only one time, we're in trouble I mean especially the people living there we're stuck here the rest of our lives because of just that and I’m just too old to take that gamble,” said local business owner Daryl Wright.
Protestors say the tragedies they fear are truck and pipeline explosions or gas emissions in the air but Xpress Natural Gas says chemical emissions would be minimal. For some, they say the filling station will scare off people who move to Central New York for clean air and farm land.
"For here in Manheim where a new generation of residents are coming in to build organic farms and they have all kinds of dreams of settling in a peaceful, clean area, it's really been desecrated at this point,” said Lia Marrero of St. Johnsville.
The “Protect Manheim” group says another frustration is a lack of research and communication.
"What I’m concerned about is the mystery about all of this I mean, I don't think the town boards have checked enough into this,” said Wright.
"Why don't you do something where, you know what, two years down the road go back to Maine check out the plant that's there see what's happening, see what's happening with the health, with the environment, what's happening with the traffic, explosives, so on and so forth, why do you have to hurry up and put it in here?" says George.
Above all, group members say they just want their concerns heard and considered.
Eyewitness News reached out the Mayor of Dolgeville but he never returned the call.
The Zoning Board meets at 7:00 p.m. at the Dolgeville Fire Department. Tune in to Eyewitness News at 10:00 and 11:00 for the results of the vote.
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