To the editor,
As early as 1900, you knew you were in Fulton by the welcoming smell of chocolate. That smell lasted until early 2000.
As a kid when you could smell chocolate some say it was a forecast of rain.
New kids to the area would smell the chocolate and ask if your mother was making a chocolate cake. You would tell them that it was coming from the Nestle plant.
The smell of chocolate was the most pleasant smell. It was not only a dream of something sweet, but it served as a sign of prosperity. It meant jobs and security for many and the city of Fulton.
The smell and prosperity all left the city of Fulton in 2003 when the plant closed. There was nothing the city, county or state leaders could do to prevent its closing.
Almost eight months ago a new smell greeted visitors and residents of the city of Fulton. For some time, no one knew the source of the smell. First it had a similar smell of a smoldering campfire. Residents of the town of Volney were the first to find the source of the smell. It was coming from the recently closed Attis Ethanol plant.
At times the smell is so faint that one would still think it was the result of a neighbor letting his firepit smolder. Other times the smell is so great that you think you live next to a crematorium or a fertilizer plant.
Unlike the pleasant smell of chocolate from the past this new smell isn’t only in the city of Fulton, it has also spread across the town of Volney.
This new smell is one of a desolate area, a loss of jobs and security for the city of Fulton and surrounding area. Just a sign of the times. For an area that is trying hard to be reborn this is not a good sign.
This new smell isn’t just unpleasant forcing residents to close windows to keep the smell out of their house and force them inside. This new smell may cause problems for those suffering from respiratory problems. You may think it is being caused by pollen but in fact it may be the smoke from the ethanol plant.
Unlike the loss of our pleasant smell of chocolate, this smell is one our local (city and county) and state governments do have means to stop.
Local governments seem to have taken a “wait and see” stance on this new smell infesting the city of Fulton and surrounding town of Volney. They have called state agencies for help and say they are awaiting results. One supervisor is ready, willing and able to handle the issue if given an OK from superior authorities.
The only problem is while governments wait taxpayers are suffering.
One state agency has said that this is not a permittable burn. If the plant were open, they would issue a stop and desist order. The issue is the plant isn’t open and letters must be sent to the owner informing them that they may start incurring fines. In the meantime, the public must suffer.
The local governments must act on what is a hazard to its residents’ health and quality of life issue. They must insist that the state issue an order to take action to prevent any further hazard to residents, relieving the local governments of any legal action taken against them. Not only must the city insist the state take action, but they must also have their legal department also send a letter of action to be taken. It will take a letter to the owner giving them a time frame (one month) to eliminate the hazard or action will be taken to eliminate it. That letter must say that a failure to respond would be taken as a permission for action to be taken to eliminate the hazard.
In closing, the smells of Fulton, once pleasant, are not a welcoming smell any longer.
Frank Castiglia Jr.