As he's set to leave office in less than two weeks, talk of Gov. David Paterson's legacy has centered on his rise to office, budget battles with the legislature and pesky scandals he couldn't quite seem to shake.

If there's a separate discussion of the mark he will leave on the Southern Tier, it would revolve around two words that have become part of the region's lexicon around the same time the governor's name did: Marcellus Shale.

Much like the overall effectiveness of his nearly three-year term, Paterson's decision making when it comes to the vast natural gas reserve a mile below the surface of the Southern Tier and Catskills Region has received mixed reviews, even among usually like-minded stakeholders.

"I think he was walking a very tight rope when it comes to the Marcellus," said John Holko, president of Genesee County-based Lenape Resources and a member of the Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York's board of directors. "To move on in government life you have to understand that nothing is all good and nothing is all bad, and I think he really did understand that."

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