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Hearing set in Osage Nation’s wind farm lawsuit  

Credit:  By DAVID HARPER, World Staff Writer, Tulsa World, www.tulsaworld.com 22 October 2011 ~~

With construction on a massive wind farm scheduled to begin in Osage County in less than a month, a federal judge has scheduled a hearing for Wednesday in the lawsuit the Osage Nation filed in an effort to stop the construction.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell set the Tulsa hearing after a joint motion was filed disclosing that construction of the wind farm is slated to begin Nov. 19.

“It is in the interest of both parties to confer with the court as soon as possible to discuss the scheduling and management of this case generally and, in particular, the (plaintiff’s) request for a preliminary injunction, so that the matter can be handled in an efficient and timely manner,” said the Friday pleading filed by plaintiff’s attorney Roger Wiley of McAlester and defense attorney Craig Fitzgerald.

The Osage Nation, through the Osage Mineral Council, filed the lawsuit on Tuesday opposing the planned development by Wind Capital Group. The complaint says the tribe is the owner of all the minerals located “in and under” Osage County.

The tribe alleges that 94 wind turbines and their network of electrical lines and roads would interfere with oil production and harm the ecosystem of the tallgrass prairie.

The Osage Nation claims in the lawsuit that marketable amounts of oil and natural gas have been discovered within the mineral estate it controls and that developing and marketing the natural gas would require the construction of flow lines and transmission lines.

The tribe alleges that construction and operation of the wind farm would interfere with those lines “to the detriment of the Osage mineral estate and Osage Nation.”

In August, the Osage County Board of Adjustment voted 4-0 to grant a variance to Wind Capital Group to erect the wind turbines on land zoned for agriculture west of Pawhuska, near the town of Burbank. The turbines would stand mostly north of U.S. 60, but a few have been planned to flank the highway to the south.

Original Print Headline: Hearing set in wind farm lawsuit

Source:  By DAVID HARPER, World Staff Writer, Tulsa World, www.tulsaworld.com 22 October 2011

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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