Slight majority favor privacy for 'good neighbor' agreements - 72 participants
Mar 18, 2015
When renewable energy company Granite Reliable Power proposed a wind power operation in Millsfield, NH, the company quietly negotiated ‘good neighbor’ agreements with several property owners, agreeing to compensate them for increases in property taxes caused by the wind farm. Such agreements have recently come under fire, with opponents arguing that they are effectively a form of ‘buying the silence’ of community members, making it difficult for regulators to accurate gauge public support for such projects. On March 15, the Live Free or Die Alliance (LFDA) put the question to Facebook members, asking, “Does the public have the right to know if a property owner has signed a ‘good neighbor’ agreement with an energy company?”
Does the public have the right to know if a property owner has signed a ‘good neighbor’ agreement with an energy company?
Participation: 72 participants gave 285 responses.
A total of 58% of those participating gave a ‘yes or no’ response to the question. The remaining 42% of participants engaged in the discussion but did not give a ‘yes or no’ response. In total, 72 individuals from New Hampshire contributed a total of 285 responses or reactions to this question. (Click here for details on our methodology.)
What Participants Said
No: A strong majority, at 57% of ‘yes or no’ respondents, believed the public does not have the right to know about 'good neighbor' agreements.
- “If I make a deal with another private citizen or entity; it's not any of my neighbor, my town, my county, or my state's business.”
- “The state has no right to interfere in private contracts.”
Yes: The minority of ‘yes or no’ respondents, at 43%, believed the public had the right to know about 'good neighbor' agreements.
- “Since all renewable energy projects are funded by subsidies from the federal government, which are funded by taxes collected from citizens, shouldn't the financial statements of the energy companies, including any payments, be public information?”
- “If it harms neighbors, it should be public knowledge.”
Other: As noted above, 42% of those participating did not give a ‘yes or no’ response, instead addressing their comments to related questions and issues. These included:
- Possible changes to zoning laws: “If zoning in Coos County addresses property up/down grades, then maybe wind farms should be included.”
*Editor selection of actual participant quotes.