Several residents from the Pawhuska area attended a meeting at the Osage fairgrounds to hear a presentation from a wind turbine company seeking a variance that would allow them to place the machines on land currently zoned as agricultural.
“Trade Wind Energy is a company, we’re based out of Lenexa, Kansas,” said company representative Aaron Weigel, giving an overview for a proposed wind farm in Osage county.
“It encompasses 9,500 acres, is 68 wind turbines, and about an 11 mile transmission line,” he said.
Listening intently in the audience, several people holding eagle feathers, concerned about what the wind farms will do to an animal they consider sacred.
“If we continue to build wind farms and they continue to kill eagles, and they continue to give permits to make it legal to kill eagles, how long is it going to take for these to go back on that endangered species list?” asked Scott BigHorse, Principal Chief of the Osage Nation.
“I don’t expect any eagles to die,” said Joe Bush. He is pro-wind farm since his property would have over 40 of the turbines if the Board of Adjustment approves the variance.
“It’s significant money. It’s way more than I can make with cattle,” he said.
With boots embroidered with turbines, he says he has the right to have them installed as a property owner.
If they did deny this would you consider suing? “Absolutely, without a doubt,” he said.
A battle of tradition versus turbines; of eagles versus energy.
“We utilize these feathers from the time our children are born until we lay our loved one to rest,” said BigHorse
“I’ll be happy to give the feathers to the Osages, I mean they have to get those feathers from somewhere,” said Bush.
The Board of Adjustment tabled the topic until May 8th.