Binghamton University has gotten rid of its mineral rights lease with Chesapeake Energy, which was being held up by the fracker’s farce majeure gambit. And would have subjected the neighbors into being forced into the well sideways via compulsory integration. One more fracking pinata in the dumpster. Thanks BU !
The nonprofit organization handling Binghamton University’s $90 million endowment fund has been freed from an unwanted mineral rights lease on a 563-acre parcel in the Town of Union.
In a legal document filed Nov. 18 in the Broome County Clerk’s Office, Chesapeake Appalachia LLC agreed to release the Binghamton University Foundation from a disputed lease for oil and gas rights at 423 Western Heights Blvd., a vast tract of wooded land near Glendale Technology Park that had been one of the largest leased parcels in the county. (But less than the proposed spacing unit requirement of 640 acres. Meaning the neighbors would have been vulnerable to compulsory integration, no signing bonus, no better terms, just forced into the well sideways by the DEC. JLN)
Chesapeake and the BU Foundation entered into a five-year oil and gas lease on Aug. 6, 2008. The Oklahoma City-based energycompany bid $2,551 per acre — about $1.4 million — for the lease, with the foundation receiving 15 percent royalty payments if drilling had occurred, according to county records.
At the end of the lease, a dispute arose over whether New York’s delays in permitting for high-volume hydrofracking triggered the “force majeure” clause in the lease agreement. The clause allowed Chesapeake to extend the term of the lease in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
In a letter to Chesapeake on May 10 this year, the BU Foundation demanded to be released from the lease, according to records in the county clerk’s office.
Chesapeake’s regional land manager, Bree Nelson, on May 20 responded by filing an affidavit in the county clerk’s office contending “the lease remains in full force and effect.”
The most recent document, signed Oct. 24 and filed in the county clerk’s office last week, states Chesapeake has agreed to “release, relinquish and surrender all right, title and interest” to the lease.
“We fully expected to be released and are glad it’s official,” said Sheila Doyle, the BU Foundation’s associate vice president for external affairs.
Doyle declined to comment on whether a new lease would be pursued, saying in a statement any decision would be in the hands of the foundation’s board of directors.
Chesapeake spokesman Gordon Pennoyer declined to comment on why the company released the BU Foundation from its lease. Both on and off campus, the foundation’s lease has been a source of conflict in recent years.
In October 2010, students opposed to hydraulic fracturing fornatural gas mounted a protest when they discovered the lease had been signed two years prior without notice or input from the campus community.
Broome County unsuccessfully sued the BU Foundation in 2011 in an attempt to obtain a copy of the full lease document through the state Freedom of Information Law, arguing the foundation, a nonprofit organization, should be considered a public entity because of its ties to the public university. A judge ruled against the county.