A wind turbine in Oklahoma. Photo: John Kane
Environment | Law

Osage Nation loses attempt to block county's wind development ordinance





The Osage Nation continues to fight wind energy developments in northeastern Oklahoma.

The tribe believes the projects cause harm to its religious practices, the environment and its mineral rights in Osage County. But the courts haven't been too kind to a series of lawsuits filed by the tribe.

In the latest setback, the tribe lost an attempt to block the county's wind development ordinance due to lack of standing, The Tulsa World reported. The judge handling the case said the tribe can return to court in the event a wind farm is approved by the county, the paper said.

"We want ... our religious leaders in there and we want our people in there see whether any of our property will be devalued by this.’ And we’re ready for that," Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear told reporter Lenzy Krehbiel-Burton.

The ruling came after the Oklahoma Supreme Court, in a 5-1 ruling in May, kept the tribe's lawsuit against the ordinance alive. The ordinance was adopted in 2011, The Tulsa World reported at the time.

The Osage Wind Project is already in operation in the county and the Mustang Run Wind Project has been approved for operation. The tribe's mineral council tried to challenge Mustang Run but waited too long, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled in its May decision.

The tribe is worried that wind turbines will disturb bald eagles, which are used for spiritual purposes. The tribe also believes wind farms interfere with its mineral rights but a federal judge disagreed in a lawsuit that was filed by the federal government, The Tulsa World reported in October 2015. Turtle Talk has posted documents from that case, U.S. v. Osage Wind LLC.

Read More on the Story:
Tribe's motion to challenge wind farm developments in Osage County denied in district court (The Tulsa World 8/1)
Oklahoma Supreme Court sends Osage wind permit appeal back to district court (The Oklahoman 5/3)
Osage Nation wins partial victory in case against wind development (The Tulsa World 5/2)

Oklahoma Supreme Court Decision:
Osage Nation v. Board of Commissioners of Osage County (May 2, 2017)

Related Stories:
NPR: Osage Nation disputes wind development on mineral estate (August 19, 2014)
Column: Osage Nation threatens legal action over wind farm (September 13, 2013)