New State Ethics Code On Wind

April 13, 2016
 
 
ALBANY, NY – New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently announced that there is a revised Code of Conduct for the wind energy industry in New York State.
 
“Public officials throughout New York should encourage the growth of a strong, sustainable wind industry for the public good and not for their own private financial gain,” said Attorney General Schneiderman. “The revised code of conduct announced today will help ensure greater transparency and limit the potential for corruption and unfair outside influence, thereby fostering the growth of a responsible renewable energy industry throughout our state.”
 
The original New York State Code of Conduct for Wind Farm Development was signed by many wind companies in 2009 – prior to the enactment of New York State’s comprehensive energy bill known as the “Power NY Act of 2011.” The Power NY Act of 2011 established a centralized process for the siting of electric generating facilities and re-powering projects. This Act included a new version of Article 10 of the Public Service Law and created a multi-agency Siting Board that is charged with streamlining the permitting process for power plants of 25 megawatts (MW) or greater.
 
A.G. Schneiderman says that his revised Wind Code of Conduct prohibits conflicts of interest between municipal officials and wind companies and establishes specific public disclosure requirements.
 
The New Code of Conduct:
 
Bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving gifts of more than $15 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 website 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; and
Dictates that within ninety days of signing the Code of Conduct, companies must conduct a seminar for employees about identifying and preventing conflicts of interest when working municipal employees.