Cohocton Wind Watch: Wind power companies, Cuomo reach agreement
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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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Wind power companies, Cuomo reach agreement

ALBANY -- Two wind power companies under investigation for possible improper dealings with local government officials agreed this morning to adopt a set of ethics principles designed to provide a level of transparency into the rapidly expanding alternative energy sector.

The agreement between the companies, one of which is the developer of the Steel Winds project on the old Bethlehem Steel plant site in Lackawanna, does not close the investigation begun earlier this summer by Attorney General Andrew Cuomo. Cuomo is looking into possibly shaky deals offered by the companies to local government officials in return for land-use agreements for placement of the controversial wind turbines.

The code of conduct principles was signed by Massachusetts-based First Wind, developer of the Lackawanna facility, and Connecticut-based Noble Environmental Power, which has three wind farms and another five under development in Allegany, Chautauqua, Wyoming, Clinton and Franklin counties.

Cuomo said the companies have been cooperating with his probe of whether the growing number of wind firms trying to do business in New York illegally obtained land agreements from municipalities by cutting deals with government officials or citizens. The two companies are the first to sign onto the code of conduct.

The code bans wind companies from hiring local government officials or their relatives for one year after approval of a wind energy deal. It also bans companies from seeking, using or receiving "confidential information" obtained by a locality about a pending project. Companies also will have to post on a web site the names of any municipal officials or their relatives with any financial stake in the firms.

Wind easements and leases will have to be publicly filed with county clerks. Companies must conduct seminars to educate their workers about preventing conflicts of interests in dealings with local officials.

Subpoenas were served in July on the two companies as part of Cuomo's investigation into questionable dealings with local officials around the state. The office had gotten complaints about "improper relations" between wind companies and local officials, including in Erie County. Cuomo has not divulged any details of the investigation.

In July, Lackawanna Mayor Norman Polanski said the wind power project in his city was not a part of the probe.

Cuomo also announced creation of a new task force -- composed of members of his staff, local district attorneys, including Wyoming County District Attorney Gerald Stout, and local government organizations -- to monitor the companies to ensure they comply with the new code. He asked residents to send complaints about any wind company developments to windtaskforce@oag.state.ny.us.

"Wind power is an exciting industry for the state that will be a cornerstone of our energy future. But it is important to make sure that this alternative energy sector develops in a way that maintains the public's confidence," Cuomo said in a statement.

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TEN Reasons
Why the SEC should not allow First Wind to be listed on NASDAQ

First Wind Holdings Inc. 12/22/09 SEC S1/A IPO Filing

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October 13, 2010 Filing update to the First Wind Holdings Inc. SEC S1A IPO Filing

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