I need to give NYSG an answer soon, Bush told the board; the issue was tabled.
The last time there was widespread drilling for gas in Central New York was the 1930s, Carson said. Since then, major technological advances have been made, and the time is ripe to apply those new technologies to the untapped reserves in CNY.
In and around Elbridge and extending through parts of Cayuga, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga and Wayne counties lies a bed of Utica Shale more than 2,000 feet underground.
Trapped in that shale could be a profitable amount of natural gas, Carson said, especially given the practices of horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, methods that have not been employed in the area before.
"We're willing to spend the money and lease the land and find out," he said. "We're gambling... we're taking a chance because I happen to believe we can make it successful."
To do so, NYSG must lease mineral rights - the rights to resources like natural gas found on property where the company drills - from property owners in the area. Carson said ideally the company would be able to gain mineral rights to a block of at least 10 to 20,000 acres - any less than that and the project would not be profitable.
Then wells would be drilled to test for gas, and if gas is abundant, the well is attached to a pipeline and gas is harvested.
"Then we get paid, the land owners get paid, and the municipality gets paid through taxes," Carson said. NYSG is offering a $25 per acre leasing bonus, and 12.5 percent of the profit on gas that is collected to property owners who sign a 10-year lease with the company.
Doug Blumer, who owns land in several townships including Elbridge, questioned Carson during the meeting about whether landowners who lease to NYSG would be at a disadvantage if the company abandoned the project.