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Gas Lease Offer Denied


Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Broome County Legislature firmly says NO to another offer from Inflection Energy's to lease county land for natural gas drilling.

The vote was not even close.

Will the company come knocking again?

Action News Reporter Haley Burton has the story.

Only 3 legislators voted for the offer: Mark Whalen, Gene LaBare and Suzann Buchta.

"There will be drilling in Broome County. The question is, 'are we going to make the best deal we can for the resources that lie underneath our property?" said Whalen (D), Broome County Legislature.

Inflection's deal was worth $7.8 million dollars.

10 Legislators voted against it. Some said they wanted to wait a little while for the DEC to complete its regulations.

"I'd rather make sure I know what the rules are before I jump into that game and I'm going to not support this not because of the money, not because of the 20 percent royalty," said Jerry Marinich (R), Minority Leader.

"The bottom line I think and some people have made this point that it's really premature to go into a lease at this stage," said Mario Nirchi (D), Broome County Legislature.

2 legislators were absent: Joseph Merrill and Wayne Howard.

4 were not able to vote. Suzanne Messina, Ron Keibel, Stephen Herz and Marchie Diffendorf could not vote on the resolution because of a conflict of interest.

Inflection Energy extended its offer until December 17.

CEO Mark Sexton says because of that he expected a hold off on the vote.

"It appeared to us that this was going to help the County with some difficult decisions they have to make. The fact they chose to vote it down and not table it is a statement from the Legislature," said Sexton.

Legislators have turned down an offer from Inflection twice.

But will the Denver-based company come back with a third offer?

"People are seeing the process go on now, coming together and falling apart, come together, fall apart. If people genuinely want to get together and work out an agreement that's good for this company, we always remain ready to talk," said Sexton, CEO of Inflection Energy LLC.

"If Inflection comes back next month, I imagine its going to suffer a similar fate," said Daniel Reynolds (D), Chairman of Broome County Legislature.

The Legislature also shot down a resolution to name Broome County as lead agency in signing a generic lease deal.

Because that vote was No, the negative declaration resolution failed automatically.

Broome County Executive Barbara Fiala says she's disappointed the County Legislature did not approve the deal.

She says the offer from Inflection would have been a tremendous help and it will have serious consequences financially for the County in 2011 and 2012.