Corruption accusations over first wind farm denied

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Plans for Slovenia's first wind farm, unveiled by the Elektro Primorska power company in 2003 and granted a building permit two months ago, are facing increasing opposition from environmental groups and the local community following allegations of corruption. The wind farm -- planned for 33 turbines but granted permits for 29 by the environment ministry -- is to be built on the Volovja Reber plateau, an area designated for conservation under the country's environmental protection act. An investigation by the commission for the prevention of corruption has concluded that the environment ministry failed to take sufficient note of concerns voiced by environmentalists and breached the principles of caution and admissibility as determined by the act. The investigation was instigated by the environmental coalition for Volovja Reber, which says that former environment minister Janez Kopac was "personally engaged" in irregularities and illegal activities that allowed the construction of the turbines. The anti corruption commission agrees that irregularities have occurred. The environment ministry rejects the allegations. Development of the wind plant is proceeding as planned.

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