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Let’s Revisit Business Secrecy Exemptions As Energy Week Meets Sunshine Week

By D. Maurice Kreis

Power to the People

This is both Sunshine Week and Energy Week in New Hampshire – a very happy confluence.

It’s happy not because of solar energy (though it’s never a bad time for consumers to consider the benefits of rooftop or backyard photovoltaics). Rather, because Sunshine Week is a celebration of the virtues of government transparency, this is a great time to consider the extent to which secrecy is impeding the development of great energy policy.

Journalists and transparency activists tend to focus on those aspects of the Right-to-Know Law – RSA 91-A, our sunshine statute – that deal with sexy items like police records, personnel issues, contract negotiations, and executive sessions. Seldom noticed is the over-used and much abused provision of RSA 91-A that allows businesses to shield from public disclosure vast swaths of information they provide to the government.

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