The NY Attorney General has announced a new code of ethics for the wind industry along with the establishment of an oversight task force. Although the Code does not appear to be available on-line yet, according to the Attorney General’s press release the Wind Industry Ethics Code prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind companies and establishes certain public disclosure requirements. According to the press release, the Code:
Bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $10 during a one-year period, or providing any other form of compensation that is contingent on any action before a municipal agency
Prevents wind companies from soliciting, using, or knowingly receiving confidential information acquired by a municipal officer in the course of his
or her officials duties
Requires wind companies to establish and maintain a public Web site to disclose the names of all municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind farm development
Requires wind companies to submit in writing to the municipal clerk for public inspection and to publish in the local newspaper the nature and scope of the municipal officer’s financial interest
Mandates that all wind easements and leases be in writing and filed with the County Clerk
Dictates that within thirty days of signing the Wind Industry Ethics Code,
companies must conduct a seminar for employees about identifying and preventing conflicts of interest when working with municipal employees
The Alliance for Clean Energy (NY) has sent the following message to its members about the new Code:
“As we informed you yesterday, the New York Attorney General announced that two wind companies under investigation for unethical behavior, Noble and First Wind, had signed a wind energy code of conduct. The announcement and subsequent press coverage made the code of conduct the focus and insinuated that it is widely applicable to the wind energy industry at large.
ACE NY has now reviewed the actual code, which is attached to this email for your review, and believes it is inappropriate for any other wind energy company to sign this document.
That is not to say that we would not suggest signing a similar code, and we intend to have discussions with the membership on which provisions of the code could possibly be the basis for a document that we could recommend signing. This code, however, contains provisions that may be appropriate for the two companies that apparently negotiated it with the AG’s office but not for others.
For example, the signatories must pay for all of the expenses of the Task Force established to monitor and enforce the code (with no apparent limit) and requires the payment of penalties for violating the code, even while a finding of a violation is contested in a court of law.
ACE NY will be meeting with the Attorney General’s office to discuss our concern about how this document was presented to the press and to discuss its impact on wind energy companies that have not been the subject of official AG investigations.”
The full text of the Code is now available here: