BINGHAMTON -- Broome County Executive Barbara J. Fiala said Friday she hopes to have a mineral rights lease offer from a natural gas company before she delivers her budget address on Sept. 23.
The county has had productive discussions with a few companies, Fiala said, and she hoped to receive a firm offer "soon."
"There is more than one company with interest in Broome County land," Fiala said. "I anticipate us getting another offer, but we do not have that now. As soon as that happens, I will make that public."
Fiala re-stated her pledge not to include any anticipated revenue from a lease in her 2011 budget proposal. The county had included a $5 million projection in each of its last two budgets, which went unfulfilled in 2009 and may in 2010, as well.
Broome County received an offer in July from Inflection Energy of Denver that would have paid $3,000 an acre up front -- about $16 million -- and 20 percent royalties for 5,610 acres of county-owned land. However, Fiala pulled the deal after members of the public spoke against it at a hearing and it was clear it no longer had the county legislature's support.
Meanwhile, county and City of Binghamton officials continued to prepare for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's two-day public meeting on its multi-million-dollar hydraulic fracturing study. The meeting will take place at The Forum on Monday and Wednesday.
"We're ready for it," Binghamton Mayor Matthew T. Ryan said. "We can handle anything that happens. Our police force is a great one, and we're working together with the county to make sure this gathering is a peaceful one."
The EPA's study will look at the potential effect of hydrofracking -- a drilling technique in which a mix of water, sand and chemicals is blasted deep underground to break up rock and free natural gas -- on groundwater. The practice is on hold in New York as the state Department of Environmental Conservation reviews its policies and regulations.