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State probing officials at Cape; Misconduct alleged in wind development  

Credit:  By Brian Kelly, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times, www.watertowndailytimes.com 14 August 2010 ~~

CAPE VINCENT – The state attorney general’s office is investigating allegations of misconduct by “certain” town officials in connection with the development of wind farms.

John T. Milgrim, spokesman for the attorney general, confirmed that a letter was sent to the town and its attorney Friday afternoon informing them an investigation had been launched.

Mr. Milgrim also confirmed that two senior members of Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo’s staff, Deputy Chief of Staff John B. Howard and Henry M. Greenberg, executive division counsel, were in Cape Vincent about two weeks ago conducting interviews of “parties interested in wind power.”

Mr. Milgrim declined comment on details of the investigation, including what prompted it or which town officials may be its focus.

According to the letter, obtained by the Times, the attorney general has told the town it must preserve all town documents, including those of the Town Council and Planning Board, and the town is not to delete or purge any records until the investigation is complete.

The attorney general’s office is specifically requesting information about any present, past or future wind farm development or siting of the farms, as well as all information regarding wind turbines, wind power and related facilities or wind power projects.

The office wants all information about wind farm development compiled since Jan. 1, 2005, “whether considered, planned, attempted or completed, including, but not limited to permitting, licensing, construction and energy production.”

By Aug. 28, the attorney general’s office wants:

■ All documents relating to town action on wind farm development, including, but not limited to, board minutes, board packages, resolutions, voting records, communications, permits, applications and licenses.

■ All communications between or among town officials and any company engaged in wind farm development.

■ All documents concerning any financial relationship between a town official, or their relatives, and a company engaged in wind farm development, including, but not limited to, any financial disclosures filed with the town and any board minutes reflecting any such disclosures.

The attorney general’s office is asking that town Supervisor Urban C. Hirschey and Planning Board Chairman Richard J. Edsall, as well as members of the Town Council and Planning Board, be made available for interviews. The office also wants to talk to anyone else who served on either board since Jan. 1, 2005.

Acciona Wind Energy USA has proposed a 51-turbine St. Lawrence Wind Farm for the town and BP Alternative Energy has an active application for the 62-turbine Cape Vincent Wind Farm. The proposed projects have caused controversies between pro- and anti-wind advocates, including allegations of conflicts of interest among town officials.

Source:  By Brian Kelly, Times Staff Writer, Watertown Daily Times, www.watertowndailytimes.com 14 August 2010

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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