Wind power firm agrees to N.Y. ethics pact

Posted Oct. 30, 2008, at 11:25 p.m.
Last modified March 20, 2011, at 6:16 a.m.

An operator and proponent of three state wind farms has voluntarily signed an agreement with New York state Attorney General Andrew Cuomo designed to ensure the company’s activities stay within ethical boundaries, Cuomo announced Thursday.

With the agreement First Wind of Newton, Mass., and Noble Environmental Power LLC of Essex, Conn., resolved Cuomo’s investigation into allegations regarding their ethical conduct in New York, Cuomo said.

First Wind is considering setting a similar policy for itself in Maine, company spokesman John Lamontagne said Thursday. The company has a wind farm in Mars Hill, is constructing one on Stetson Mountain and will soon seek permits to build one on Rollins Mountain in the Lincoln area.

“We are determining whether or not similar such policies would be appropriate in other locations where we have operations and developments,” Lamontagne said in an e-mail Thursday.

First Wind’s signing the agreement underlines the company’s commitment to maintaining the highest possible ethical standards, said Paul Gaynor, First Wind’s president and chief executive officer.

Begun in July, Cuomo’s investigation probed whether First Wind and Noble improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with residents and public officials; whether public officials received improper benefits to influence their actions; and whether they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

Under the agreement, a multi-agency task force of representatives from the New York Attorney General’s Office, prosecutors, town and county municipal associations and the New York Public Interest Research Group will monitor agreement signatories for compliance, Cuomo said. The companies who sign have 30 days to comply.

Gary Steinberg, a spokesman for Friends of Lincoln Lakes, a residents group opposed to the Rollins Mountain development, said the group is considering asking Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe to consider adopting a similar agreement.

“I think we have to have similar standards here,” Steinberg said Thursday. “There was nothing said here that indicates that this code of conduct would be carried forward in Maine, and it [Cuomo’s action] further emphasizes our point that a moratorium on these [wind farms] needs to be instituted until such a code of conduct is in place in Maine.”

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