Many people have been asking us why Apex has not signed the New York State (NYS) Attorney General’s Wind Energy Ethics Code for wind farm developments in New York. Here is our response:
In 2008, prior to Article 10 becoming law, the NYS Attorney General’s office required all wind developers to sign a code of conduct to ensure no participation in conflict-of-interest activities; the main focus was on providing full disclosure to the public of any leaseholder in the wind farm who also held a seat in local government. This code was put into place when local municipalities decided the fate of proposed wind developments. Now that Article 10 is the law, the process for permitting and approval of wind farms is substantially different, and thus many of the concerns raised by the original code of conduct agreement are severely diminished or do not apply.
When we launched the Public Involvement Plan (PIP) for the Lighthouse Wind project on October 31, 2014, the NYS Attorney General’s office was contacted as part of our stakeholder outreach. That started a conversation about the ethics code that has been ongoing. On April 1, 2015, Apex sent a letter to the Attorney General stating explicitly that we are willing to sign a code of ethics. Additionally, the Attorney General was notified when we filed our Preliminary Scoping Statement (PSS) on November 23, 2015. These three examples of contact represent only a small portion of the communication we have had with the Attorney General’s office on this issue since October 2014. Apex will continue working with the Attorney General’s office as we develop Lighthouse Wind, and we look forward to signing a code of conduct when it is offered by the Attorney General.
Regardless of the status of the code of conduct, Apex has a high internal standard for ethics in development, and it has and will continue to ensure that it avoids conflicts of interest in development of all of its projects. In fact, we are already substantively complying with the code by asking in our leasing documents whether any participating landowners are municipal officials and by requiring any lessors to complete a Municipal Officer Disclosure form. If they are conflicted, we expect that they will recuse themselves from any vote on matters involving the project.