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9/03/2013
Troubled wind project target of FBI scrutiny, industry criticism
The Goodhue project made national news because it was going to be built in a major bald eagle migration and nesting area near the Mississippi River, and was an important golden eagle migration and wintering location.  The man being investigated is the former head of Noble Power (Energy) whose activities were looked at by the NY Attorney General several years ago (but who did nothing).  The article depicts how the wind companies change names in quick succession.

Troubled wind project target of FBI scrutiny, industry criticism

Credit:  Brett Boese | August 31, 2013 | www.postbulletin.com ~~

ZUMBROTA — The New Era wind project appears likely to have its state-issued permits revoked this fall after missing two deadlines that required it to either begin construction or surrender its permits by Aug. 23, according to a Minnesota Public Utilities spokesperson.

That course of action could finally close the book on what’s been the most controversial wind project in state history.

The 78-megawatt project was first proposed in 2008 by National Wind. During the past five years, five lawsuits have been filed, ownership has changed hands twice, fines have been levied for illegal lobbying and — in the most recent development — the Federal Bureau of Investigation apparently has conducted interviews as part of a potential fraud investigation.

Four local critics of the $180 million wind project, representing opposition groups Goodhue Wind Truth and the Coalition for Sensible Siting, say they spent a January morning in St. Paul detailing their concerns to two FBI investigators. Developers have spent more than $15 million seeking state permits, according to a filing at the PUC, while local opposition has spent six figures in the protracted legal battle.

“(The FBI is) always interested to hear from citizens,” said Marie McNamara, a Goodhue farmer who co-founded Goodhue Wind Truth. “I remember them saying they were hearing concerns from other citizens across Minnesota (about the wind industry). Overall, we were concerned about a lot of shenanigans. We were concerned about the investments and money being lost by local people.”
 
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