Landmark Ruling Orders Removal of Wind Turbines from Osage Reservation After Decade-Long Lawsuit

Pawhuska, Oklahoma – The U.S. Court of International Trade has ruled that all wind turbines on the Osage Reservation must be removed due to trespassing. Judge Jennifer Choe-Groves ordered the removal after finding that the companies responsible for constructing the Osage Wind farm did so without a permit in 2013. The Osage Minerals Council had initially sued the companies in 2011 upon learning of their construction plans.

Despite the lawsuit and lack of proper permissions or permits, the energy company proceeded with the construction of its wind turbines. The Osage Minerals Council accused the companies of physically invading the Osage Mineral Estate during the project’s construction. Judge Choe-Groves agreed with this assessment in her ruling.

With the decision made, the next step is to determine the penalty for the companies’ actions. Another trial will be scheduled to weigh the consequences of the trespassing. Meanwhile, the Osage tribal leaders and members of the minerals council are tasked with managing and stewarding their reservation.

The dispute surrounding the Osage Wind farm has spanned over a decade, highlighting the legal and regulatory challenges surrounding renewable energy projects on tribal lands. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of obtaining proper permits and permissions before proceeding with construction.

It remains to be seen how the energy companies involved will respond to the ruling and what consequences they will face for their trespassing. The outcome of the upcoming trial will shed more light on the potential penalties to be imposed.

As the case moves forward, Judge Jennifer Choe-Groves continues to preside over cases in the U.S. Court of International Trade. The Osage tribal leaders, as well as members of the minerals council, will need to navigate the implications of this ruling while stewarding their reservation.

Sources: AgWeb, JDSupra