Clear Skies Above Barre asks attorney general to investigate its allegations of ethical misconduct by Heritage Wind
BARRE – In a letter penned to the New York state attorney general by Clear Skies Above Barre, allegations of potential ethical misconduct by Heritage Wind, LLC and its parent company Apex were laid out.
Outlining five areas in which the group says Heritage Wind and Apex may have violated a Wind Developer Code of Conduct Agreement with the New York State attorney general, the letter alleged Heritage Wind and Apex:
• Failed to properly update a list of town officials who have a personal or family interest in a wind lease or other agreement with Heritage Wind.
• Continue to work with conflicted town officials who failed to recuse themselves from official duties relating to Heritage Wind, while seeking the passage of beneficial legislation by conflicted municipal officers.
• Improperly offered wind leases to municipal officers or their relatives without prior recusal.
• Failed to publish or serve a conflict disclosure list in accordance with the Code of Conduct Agreement.
• Potentially failed to inform the Barre town attorney of municipal officer conflicts of interest.
Kerri Richardson, president of Clear Skies Above Barre, said it all started when she received a letter from Apex on March 29, 2018 showing it had six to seven days to review a 188-page document and put in any comments.
At the time, Richardson felt like it was unethical for Apex to send out a letter around Easter and Spring Break and the timing by Apex was intentional.
“As we continued to learn more about the proposed project and what was going on, there were just red flags that just kept coming up, and we just kind of kept looking further and seeing what was going on,” she said.
The letter was sent out on Jan. 2 and the group had been keeping notes and records for awhile. Richardson said it got to the point where it felt it can’t continue to let things like this continue to happen.
Clear Skies Above Barre feels like Heritage Wind has not been acting in an ethnical manner, but Richardson said they need information they don’t have access to – all their leases are confidential.
“So we aren’t able to review the leases to see if the wording about municipal officers is or not in there,” she said, adding Clear Skies Above Barre lacks the resources to effectively investigate the issue, and has therefore asked the attorney general’s office to help the residents of Barre by investigating the conduct described in their letter.
Richardson continued on to say a lot of residents and community members feel like the wind turbine project isn’t that big of a deal or it’s all Article 10 process and residents don’t have a say, but that’s not true and they do have a voice; something which they need to take advantage of.
Officials at Heritage Wind disagree with the Clear Skies Above Barre allegations.
“Heritage Wind is confident we have carefully followed the New York Code of Conduct for Wind Farm Development,” said Public Engagement Manger Cat Mosley on Tuesday in an emailed comment.
“Additionally, we maintain a disclosures list last updated on Nov. 7, 2018 at this link – http://www.heritagewindpower.com/ny_ag_code_of_conduct, and we are happy to provide affidavits of newspaper ads which have been placed in regards to the disclosures. An update will be posted later this month, as we are waiting for information from the Orleans County Clerk’s Office of a sale that is yet to be made public.”
Clear Skies Above Barre will be hosting an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Barre Town Hall. For additional information, e-mail email@example.com or call (585) 678-6657
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