Wind Farm Neighbours Forced to Sign Away All Legal Rights in ‘Good Neighbour Agreements’

Remember all those glowing stories about wind power outfits being welcomed into rural communities with open arms? You know, tales about how farmers are dying to have turbines lined up all over their properties? How locals can’t wait to pick up some of the thousands of permanent, high paying jobs on offer? How developers are viewed with the kind of reverence reserved for Royalty?


We’ve forgotten them too.

If such a place ever existed? – it was probably just a case of one too many Single Malts, causing the usual senses to take an unscheduled break.

After years of being lied to, bullied, berated and treated like fools (at best) and “road-kill” (at worst), for most, the ‘gloss’ comprising wind industry PR efforts to ‘win hearts and minds’ has well and truly worn off.

These days, the communities aren’t so gullible; they aren’t so welcoming; and they aren’t willing to take it lying down. Despite having the skills of the best spin doctors in the business at its disposal, it’s “outrage” that’s become the word synonymous with the wind industry, wherever it goes. In short, rural communities have had enough – and they’re fighting back, by fair means and foul: Angry Wind Farm Victims Pull the Trigger: Turbines Shot-Up in Montana and Victoria.

Against that backdrop, the fact that wind farm neighbours who are offered so-called ‘good neighbour agreements’ by wind power outfits are more than just a little sceptical, is understandable.

The most one-sided agreements in the history of the common law, these contracts offer a few hundred dollars a year to effectively relinquish all rights attached to the property of those foolish enough to enter them.

The property owner signs away the ability to pursue common-law nuisance arising from shadow flicker and the incessant, turbine-generated low-frequency noise and infrasound; any and all such statutory claims that might have otherwise protected those rights; and is forced to agree to a bullet-proof ‘gag clause’ that forever shuts them up, as soon as ink hits the page.

Here’s a couple from Ohio with the common sense to understand just what they might be giving away.

Good neighbour contract
The Advertiser-Tribune
Greg and Janeen Smith
3 May 2018

As adjacent landowners to a proposed wind turbine site, we have been given a 13-page good neighbor contract that is titled “Wind Farm Neighbor Easement And Setback Waiver Agreement” that is intended to serve as an incentive to be cooperative with the Seneca Wind farm project. If we sign it, we get a whopping $500 signing bonus and $500 per year, but we have to waive our right to file a claim for damages related to any of the stated “effects,” which in the contract is worded as an “effect easement.” If we sign the contract, we also agree to a “setback easement” which states that the turbine can be located anywhere on the adjacent property, even closer than what the current state setback rule specifies.

The contract also includes a confidentiality clause where we cannot disclose the terms of the agreement to anyone. What is there to hide?

The defined “effects” using Seneca Wind’s own terms include “audio, visual, view, light, shadow flicker, vibration, air turbulence, wake, electromagnetic, ice, or other weather created hazards or other effects of any kind whatsoever resulting directly or indirectly from the operation of the Wind Farm. …” This sure seems like a self-admission that these negative side effects do in fact exist.

This proposed contract is troublesome and we have filed a complaint with Ohio Power Siting Board, Gov. John Kasich and the Seneca County commissioners. I urge everyone to contact their public officials to help defend our rights.

Greg and Janeen Smith, Bloomville

4 thoughts on “Wind Farm Neighbours Forced to Sign Away All Legal Rights in ‘Good Neighbour Agreements’

  1. We were just denied financing for a Home in Crawford County Ohio in Dec. 2021 because the owner signed the ” Good Neighbor ” agreement but actually leased his property and also is gagged. The homeowner had no idea that the fine print cost him the sale of his home. However, smaller local banks are supposedly allowing the loans to go through. Interesting!

  2. Reblogged this on UPPER SONACHAN WIND FARM and commented:
    In the UK there are ‘gagging’ orders to sign – preventing anyone who accepts payment from a developer from ever relating what had happened to them even if it would be clearly in the public interest to know. Negative Health effects from IWTs are becoming ever more relevant to the large numbers of citizens now forced to live within sight and sound of such developments.

  3. Unless one is a financial beneficiary, wind powered electricity generation is a largely failed experiment, despite all the costs.
    Best answer is to “stop these things.” having recognised the folly.

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