NY sets code to axe dirty business in clean energy
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York's Attorney General launched an ethics code on Thursday that seeks to fight dirty business in the state's emerging wind power farm business.
"Clean energy requires clean government," Attorney General Andrew Cuomo told reporters.
Wind power is a bustling business in upstate New York offering jobs in poor regions. About 450 wind turbines have been installed, and another 900 are planned.
But residents have charged that wind power companies have intimidated them and given gifts to officials in an effort to locate wind farms.
The code is a result of Cuomo's investigation into dozens of complaints from throughout the state.
In July Cuomo had subpoenaed two wind companies, First Wind, based in Massachusetts, and Noble Environmental Power, LLC based in Connecticut, seeking documents.
Among other things, the code bans wind companies from hiring municipal employees or their relatives, giving annual gifts of more than $10, and knowingly using confidential information acquired by municipal officers in the course of their duties.
It also requires wind companies to produce public websites to disclose names of municipal officers or their relatives who have a financial stake in wind farm development.
First Wind and Noble Environmental Power both signed the ethics code, saying they were the first companies to do so voluntarily.
Noble is majority owned by funds affiliated with JPMorgan Chase & Co's private equity division JPMorgan Partners LLC, which are managed by private equity firm CCMP Capital Advisors LLC. First Wind is a private company.
(Reporting by Timothy Gardner; Editing by David Gregorio)