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NY attorney probes officials in wind farm enquiry

UNITED STATES: The New York attorney general's office is investigating several officials of an upstate village for their conduct in connection with wind farm development, media outlets have reported.

The office’s Public Integrity Bureau has demanded that the town of Cape Vincent hand over documents related to wind farm development from 2005 to 2010, according to the (Syracuse) Post-Standard.

Wind farms in development in the area, at the junction of the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario, include Acciona’s 79.5MW St. Lawrence project and BP Alternative Energy’s 210MW Cape Vincent facility.

In a statement, Acciona Energy North America’s development director, Chip Readling, said: "Acciona Energy has always been and remains fully committed to the ethical and transparent development of renewable energy projects. Acciona Energy has signed and complied with the New York State Attorney General's Code of Conduct Agreement."

The attorney general’s office and BP did not return Windpower Monthly’s calls for confirmation and comment.

Cape Vincent supervisor Urban Hirschey called a special session of the town council on Tuesday to propose a suspension of council action on wind development until the investigation is completed.

But the vote failed as it received only two of the three votes needed to pass, with two council members on holiday, according to the local Watertown Daily Times

The paper said Cape Vincent supervisor Urban Hirschey has called a special session of the town council, where he will propose a suspension of council action on wind development until the investigation is completed.

But Hirschey told the paper the council may not get a quorum for the vote, and said that even with a quorum the motion still is unlikely to pass.

The attorney general, Andrew Cuomo, previously investigated developers First Wind and Noble Environmental Power on suspicion of anti-competitive practices and improper dealings with public officials.  

In the end Cuomo did not prosecute any wind companies or local officials, but the investigation led to the creation of an ethics code for wind power development.

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