In Rural New York, Windmills Can Bring Whiff of Corruption'

Editor: I have been
writing and posting about the wind fraud for two years. It’s time for govt. of all stripes to come clean. What’s behind the wind industry?
Read the Green Agenda.

Corruption

Christinne Muschi for The New York Times

Kathy Laclair of Churubusco, N.Y., dislikes the noise from the wind turbine blades and says their shadows give her vertigo.
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‘In Rural New York, Windmills Can Bring Whiff of Corruption’);

‘The wind industry has arrived in force in upstate New York, but some residents say the companies have brought with them an epidemic of corruption and intimidation.’);

Published: August 17, 2008

BURKE, N.Y. — Everywhere that Janet and Ken Tacy looked, the wind companies had been there first.



Christinne Muschi for The New York Times

To some upstate towns, wind power promises prosperity. Others fear noise, spoiled views and the corrupting of local officials.
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Dozens of people in their
small town had already signed lease options that would allow wind
towers on their properties. Two Burke Town Board members had signed
private leases even as they negotiated with the companies to establish
a zoning law to permit the towers. A third board member, the Tacys
said, bragged about the commissions he would earn by selling concrete
to build tower bases. And, the Tacys said, when they showed up at a
Town Board meeting to complain, they were told to get lost.

“There were a couple of times when they told us to just shut up,”
recalled Mr. Tacy, sitting in his kitchen on a recent evening.

Lured
by state subsidies and buoyed by high oil prices, the wind industry has
arrived in force in upstate New York, promising to bring jobs, tax
revenue and cutting-edge energy to the long-struggling region. But in
town after town, some residents say, the companies have delivered
something else: an epidemic of corruption and intimidation, as they
rush to acquire enough land to make the wind farms a reality.

“It really is renewable energy gone wrong,” said the Franklin County
district attorney, Derek P. Champagne, who began a criminal inquiry
into the Burke Town Board last spring and was quickly inundated with
complaints from all over the state about the wind companies. Attorney
General Andrew M. Cuomo agreed this year to take over the investigation.

“It’s a modern-day gold rush,” Mr. Champagne said.

Mr.
Cuomo is investigating whether wind companies improperly influenced
local officials to get permission to build wind towers, as well as
whether different companies colluded to divide up territory and avoid
bidding against one another for the same land.

The industry
appears to be shying away from trying to erect the wind farms in more
affluent areas downstate, even where the wind is plentiful, like Long
Island.

But in the small towns near the Canadian border, families
and friendships have been riven by feuds over the lease options, which
can be worth tens of thousands of dollars a year in towns where the
median household income may hover around $30,000. Rumors circulate
about neighbors who can suddenly afford new tractors or trucks.
Opponents of the wind towers even say they have received threats; one
local activist said that on two occasions, she had found her windshield
bashed in.

Full Article from the NY Times

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