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Osage Nation drops appeal in prevention of wind farm

The Osage Nation announced Wednesday that it is dismissing an appeal of a federal judge’s denial of the tribe’s attempt to prevent the building of a 94-turbine wind farm west of Pawhuska.

The news came through the tribe’s Osage Minerals Council.

“The tribe remains steadfastly opposed to the siting of industrial wind projects in Osage County,” Chris White, executive director of governmental affairs for the Osage Nation, said in a prepared statement.

“The Osage Nation has pursued and will continue to pursue several other avenues to prevent construction from going forward.”

The Osage Nation filed notice Thursday that it is appealing a Tulsa federal judge’s denial of the tribe’s attempt to prevent the construction of a 94-turbine wind farm west of Pawhuska.

U.S. District Judge Gregory Frizzell ruled Dec. 15, at the end of a two-day nonjury trial, that the tribe’s claim that the development would interfere with its mineral rights was based on speculation.

Frizzell found that the mere possibility that a dispute could arise between the wind farm and those who might drill for oil and gas on the same Osage County land was not enough to justify an injunction that would have stopped the project.

The judge noted that Orion Exploration had plans to drill this year on only one site on the extreme western edge of the wind farm territory, which he said was not sufficient to establish “unreasonable interference” with the tribe’s mineral rights.

The Osage Nation, through the Osage Minerals Council, filed the lawsuit Oct. 18.