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Will Elbridge be the next Texas?

On the agenda at the Jan. 21 Elbridge Town Board meeting was a presentation by Dan Carson, vice president of exploration for New York Shale Gas, the company seeking to lease mineral rights on property in Elbridge in the hopes of striking gas trapped thousands of feet underground.

Jesse Vap, a petroleum landman contracted by NYSG, said he has been in the Elbridge area for about five months, meeting with landowners and leasing property from them for the project. So far, Carson estimated between 10 and 20 landowners have leased their land and mineral rights to the company for drilling.

Though the company is not required to present their intentions to the town board, Carson said NYSG is hoping to lease some of the town's land, two parcels of about 30 acres each.

"If the town leases us mineral rights, they get 12.5 percent of any gas that comes out of the ground, plus a leasing bonus," the same as any other property owner who leases to the company, Carson said. "That's a huge incentive for them."

But Elbridge Town Supervisor Ken Bush, along with many members of the town board, viewed the proposition another way.

After the presentation, the board expressed concerns that leasing town property to the private company would legitimize the action to town residents who might be on the fence about leasing their own land.

"I just didn't get a sense the board was very enthusiastic about it, we really don't want to get involved at this point in having any leases on our property," Bush told The Advocate Friday. "It would be my feeling that we would not enter into an agreement with them."

At the Feb. 4 board meeting, Bush and the board echoed their lack of enthusiasm toward the idea.

Bush asked the board for their input, but there was little discussion.

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