Wind energy and free money, what could possibly go wrong? Well, we’re beginning to find out. Reports from the United States and around the world show government corruption and even organized crime are starting to make an appearance in this “green” business. Hmm, … who could have predicted that?
Organized crime gets into wind
Europol, the European Union’s law enforcement agency, reported in their latest threat assessment that organized crime has moved into wind energy:
… there are increasing reports of Italian OCGs engaging in the so called ‘Alternative or Green Energy’ market, for example investments in wind energy farms. Such projects offer attractive opportunities to benefit from generous MS and EU grant and tax subsidies, but apart from effectively exploiting eco-friendly incentives for their financial gain,they also create possibilities to launder proceeds of crime
What a surprise.
Government officials operate in secrecy
A town in Oklahoma has recalled a city councilman who was having private meetings with a wind developer:
PIEDMONT, Oklahoma — Voters in Piedmont have ousted a city councilman in a recall election that was called after the councilman upset residents by meeting privately with officials interested in building a wind farm in the town.
Government officials having private meetings without telling the voters and taxpayers they represent? Say it ain’t so! That could never happen here in North East, … could it?
Cozy relationships between regulators and the businesses they regulate
Out in Hawaii, on the island of Lanai, a state regulator leaves and goes to work for the companies he was regulating:
The former chairman of the state Public Utilities Commission — who headed the regulatory agency in 2010 when it voted 2-1 to waive competitive bidding requirements for a proposed wind energy project on Lanai — is now representing the project’s developer before the PUC.
Government regulators giving the old wink and nod to companies and then getting nice jobs in return? Sounds like the old revolving door. Sometimes, a wind developer even gives the local officials suggestions about how a regulation or ordinance should be written, good thing that could never happen here.
Government officials lying to get money
Down in Texas, a government official falsified documents to obtain a $1.8 million wind energy stimulus grant:
Charles Malouff, a former law enforcement official, was found guilty by a Travis County jury on Wednesday of falsifying documents for $1.8 million in federal stimulus money for a Jonestown wind energy operation.
The money was just too tempting.
Wind energy demands extremely close scrutiny
When officials become adversarial in reaction to questions from voters, they appear to have something to hide. Anyone running for public office should expect to be questioned constantly about their actions in that office and if they are the type of person that would prefer to answer to no one, they should immediately resign. All public officials who are spending money that belongs to the taxpayers need to account fully for every dime and be happy to do it. Public officials making decisions on behalf of the voters must do so openly and be ready to explain why they decided as they did. All public officials work for the voters and taxpayers, they answer to us. If they have nothing to hide, they should be happy to answer fully at any time.
Nothing less than full transparency
Local officials who are making decisions about ordinances which will regulate certain industries like wind energy, should never have private meetings with representatives of companies in those industries. The opportunities for private “arrangements” are far too great. Taxpayers and voters should be given a full account of any meetings that have already taken place to insure there is no conflict of interest among the persons involved in the decision making process.
Likewise, those officials should not have private meetings with representatives on one side of an issue being debated in public and if any meetings took place, there must be a full and complete disclosure of the discussion and who was in attendance. Those meetings create the overwhelming appearance of bias and may make it impossible for those officials to make a decision that is in the best interests of all residents affected.