Cohocton Wind Watch: Corruption allegations swirl around push for wind power
Cohocton Wind Watch is a community citizen organization dedicated to preserve the public safety, property values, economic viability, environmental integrity and quality of life in Cohocton, NY and in surrounding townships. Neighbors committed to public service in order to achieve a reasonable vision for a Finger Lakes region worthy of future generations.


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Monday, July 28, 2008

Corruption allegations swirl around push for wind power

First Wind and Noble Environmental Power LLC of Essex, Conn., are being investigated by Cuomo's office. A First Wind spokesman could not be reached for comment last week, and a Noble spokeswoman declined to comment.

Critics of the companies said their concern is not whether wind is a viable alternative energy source. They worry that wind companies are running roughshod over ill-prepared town boards, the final arbiters for the projects, and allege that companies are deliberately entering into contracts with town officials to grease the process.

In Prattsburgh, Steuben County, Supervisor Harold McConnell has come under fire for voting on wind-farm issues and also reportedly having a contract with a wind developer, according to the Naples Record.

In Hamlin, residents have questioned the role of Town Board member Paul Rath, who said he has leased land to a developer but has been abstaining from votes about wind energy. He did, however, vote to start a Wind Advisory Committee.

Opponents say public officials sometimes negotiate agreements with wind companies, then leave office and go to work for them.

"We need a consistent, thorough, comprehensive regulatory process that oversees the development of all these projects," said James Hall, a founder of Cohocton Wind Watch.

Hall and others contend that the state plays too small a role in the oversight of wind farms. Lawmakers have been trying to devise a more comprehensive system of regulation, but after years of debate the Legislature has been incapable of producing a law to streamline site selection for power plants.

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