Cuomo: Celebrate, but still investigate, alternative energy sources

John O'Brien Jul. 15, 2008, 1:26pm


ALBANY, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - New York's top lawyer has swept into the world of wind farms, demanding information on the business practices of two companies that own renewable energy-producing turbines across the state.

State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced the investigation Tuesday. He says there have been allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices against First Wind and Noble Environmental Power.

"The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels," Cuomo said. "However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it."

Cuomo said the investigation will determine if the two companies, both based out of state: Improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials; if improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions; and if they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

Cuomo's subpoenas seek:

-Documents concerning any benefits conferred on any individual or entity in connection with wind farm activity;

-Agreements, easements or contracts with individuals regarding placement of wind turbines;

-Agreements between wind companies that may indicate anti-competitive practices; and

-Documents pertaining to any payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies.

First wind has three wind farms currently in operation and 48 others in development across the country.

Noble Environmental Power has three active wind farms and five more in development. CEO Walt Howard issued the following statement:

"Noble has received a civil subpoena from the Attorney General of New York State regarding wind development activities in New York. 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."

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