by Timlynn Babitsky
Suspicious shenanigans by wind developers in upstate New York have prompted the State’s Attorney General to develop a code of conduct for wind energy companies doing business in The Empire State. There is no question that wind power in New York State has the potential to make positive changes for many who live there, but the ends should never justify the means. And, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo, absolutely agrees.
In an early September post on my website – Wind Power Greed - I painted an ugly picture of wind energy lust. Some wind farm developers in upstate New York were bribing local officials to get permission to build wind towers, colluding among developers to avoid competitive wind option leases, and shutting down discussion in local town meetings looking for the quickest way possible to acquire enough land to make their wind farms a reality.
Thanks to the concerted efforts of a number of good folks and solid investigation by the NY Attorney General, New York State now has a Wind Power Code of Ethics that spells out quite clearly what must, and must not occur as developers and towns bring wind energy to the state.
Although subscription to the code is not mandatory, the code itself and the Task Force created to monitor wind development in the state, will ensure that towns and wind developers both keep an eye on how they do business.
In brief, the Code covers conflicts of interest by banning wind companies from:
- offering municipal officers bribes, gifts, compensation for services, contingent compensation, honoraria, or payment of legal fees and
- soliciting from municipal officers restrictions on easements/leases, or confidential information.
The Code further spells out specific public disclosure publication requirements covering any and all financial interests of municipal officers in the project/company and all easements and leases.
The wind development company must provide specific education and training to its own employees and local municipal officers on how they need to conduct business within the Code of Ethics.
Or read it on line at the Wind Power Law Blog