Cohocton Wind Watch: Noble wind-energy firm under investigation
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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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Noble wind-energy firm under investigation

CHATEAUGAY -- Noble Environmental Power LLC and a second wind-energy firm are under investigation by the state Attorney General's Office for "improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices."

"We've had a number of complaints from counties all over the state, from Franklin all the way over to Erie," said John Milgrim, spokesman for Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.

Franklin County District Attorney Derek Champagne was among "DAs from eight counties, public officials and citizens" who bombarded Albany with complaints about Noble and Massachusetts-based First Wind, formerly known as UPC Wind, he said.

Subpoenas were served on both companies Tuesday, seeking an assortment of documents pertaining to agreements and easements obtained from property owners and public officials.

Noble, which is based in Chester, Conn., has three wind farms in operation and five in development in Clinton, Franklin, Allegany, Chautauqua and Wyoming counties.

First Wind has three operational wind farms and 48 others under development across the United States and in Steuben, Chautauqua, Genesee and Wyoming counties.

In a statement released late Tuesday, Noble said it has received the subpoena and that "the company is in the process of reviewing the subpoena and will cooperate fully with the Attorney General.

"We are confident the Attorney General's inquiry will find that Noble's actions have been legal and proper, and we look forward to his review," the statement concludes.

Cuomo's subpoenas seek:

All documentation about the benefits individuals or entities received in connection with wind-farm activity; all easements, agreements and contracts individuals were awarded as far as turbine placement; and agreements that could be viewed as anti-competitive practices, all paperwork concerning payments or benefits received by local, state or federal agencies.

The Attorney General will determine:

Whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials.

Whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions.

Whether the wind-farm companies entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

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