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Attorney General Andrew M. Cuomo has launched an investigation of two companies developing and operating wind farms across New York state, amid allegations of improper dealings with public officials and anti-competitive practices.

Subpoenas were served on Newton, Mass.-based First Wind (formerly known as UPC Wind) and Essex, Conn.-based Noble Environmental Power LLC. They are part of an investigation of whether companies developing wind farms improperly sought or obtained land-use agreements with citizens and public officials; whether improper benefits were given to public officials to influence their actions; and whether they entered into anti-competitive agreements or practices.

The Office of the Attorney General says it has received complaints regarding the two companies from citizens, groups and public officials in eight counties, alleging improper relations between the companies and local officials and other improper practices.

"The use of wind power, like all renewable energy sources, should be encouraged to help clean our air and end our reliance on fossil fuels," says Cuomo. "However, public integrity remains a top priority of my office, and if dirty tricks are used to facilitate even clean-energy projects, my office will put a stop to it."

The subpoenas seek the following:

- documents concerning any benefits conferred on any individual or entity in connection with wind farm activity,

- agreements, easements or contracts with individuals regarding placement of wind turbines,

- agreements between wind companies that may indicate anti-competitive practices, and

- documents pertaining to any payments or benefits received from local, state or federal agencies.

In response, Noble Environmental Power issued the following statement:

"Noble has received a subpoena from the attorney general of New York state regarding wind development activities in New York," says Walt Howard, CEO of Noble. "The company is in the process of reviewing the subpoena and will cooperate fully with the attorney general. We are confident the attorney general's inquiry will find that Noble's actions have been legal and proper, and we look forward to his review."

A spokesperson from First Wind says the company has received the subpoena and that it intends to cooperate fully.

SOURCE: Office of the Attorney General, Noble Environmental Power, First Wind

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