Neighbors skeptical of proposed cattle processing plan

The crowd filing into the auditorium at SUNY Oswego on Wednesday night was largely skeptical, and the representatives from Bion Environmental Technologies knew it. They say their massive proposed cattle processing plant is based on cutting-edge technology that would use waste from cattle to help power the plant and keep it out of the air. The Bion representatives say they could handle 40,000 cattle, but only have the impact that 500 cows on a traditional farm.

"The world we live in has finite natural resources. That's what we're bringing to the table. We bring good environmental management that equals good economic results," said Dominic Bassoni from Bion.

Kestutis Bendinskas thinks Bion is working on some interesting concepts, but he isn't sure that Oswego County is a good location for what Bion wants to do.

"Even if they produce less per cattle of pollution, it still means because they're adding so much cattle that pollution is going to increase in the area," said Bendinskas. Bion says its environmentally friendly closed loop system would dramatically reduce waste and odors. Representatives said the plant could also provide 600 jobs.

Many neighbors who came out to Wednesday night's meeting just couldn't believe that Bion can really contain the smell of tens of thousands of cows.

"The odor to me is going to be a huge part. If the children are in school, they won't be able to go out if the odor is strong," said Mary Hall-Fisk "For the rest of us, odors like that when there are slaughterhouses, etc. - there's a smell related to it."

Bion is currently testing their waste management system on a farm in Pennsylvania. On Wednesday, the company said the Oswego County community would be able to see data from that project before it seeks final approval in New York.