On October 30th, the New York Attorney General announced a Wind Industry Ethics Code aimed at assuring the public that wind development in the state is done ethically and legally. The Code is the result of an investigation launched by the Attorney General into allegations of improper actions by wind developers to influence landowners and public officials. According to the Attorney General’s office, 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 Attorney General also established a Task Force charged with monitoring companies to verify their compliance with the Code.