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Judge Orders Removal of Wind Farm in Osage County

Judge Orders Removal of Wind Farm in Osage County
Source: Pinterest

Judge Orders Removal of Wind Farm in Osage County

Source: Pinterest

Ten years have passed since the US government and The Osage Nation first disagreed about wind turbines.

The recent wind farm demolition was mandated by US Court of International Trade Judge Jennifer Choe-Groves. With this verdict, the Osage Nation has achieved a significant victory.

Perpetual Restraining Order

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The decision provided a permanent legal resolution allowing the United States and the Osage Nation, via their Resources Committee, to mandate the disposal of wind farms due to continuous encroachment.

The Osage Minerals Estate, consisting of 1.47 million acres of land, is under the jurisdiction of the Minerals Council via the Osage Nation.


Source: Wikimedia Commons

An appellate court ruling from 2017 determined that the construction of wind farms is considered a form of mining operation.

In addition to the above ruling, the respondents needed to provide a rental contract from the Minerals Council of the Osage Nation, which they unfortunately could not.

The Judge’s Remarks

Source: AUWCL/X

Based on the information provided to the trial court, Judge Choe-Groves concluded that the respondents were purposefully circumventing the rental obligation.

Judge Choe-Groves’ inferences suggest that disregarding the lease obligation would create a risky rule of law. Accepting this sort of conduct, she said, might result in subsequent meddling with the power held by the Osage Mineral Council.

ALSO READ: Judge Orders Removal of Wind Farm in Osage County

Judicial Ruling

Source: Osage Nation Minerals Council

The Court determined the fact that Osage Nation’s autonomy was interfered therewith sufficiently to constitute irreversible harm, citing the respondent’s persistent and prior reluctance to obtain a rental agreement.

While he was “astonished” about the verdict, Everett Waller, the chairman of the Osage Minerals Committee, professed excitement regarding the ruling’s resolution.

Extended Legal Conflict

Source: Wikimedia Commons

After the decision was rendered, Waller expressed his wish that no other clan would have to endure the hardships they had.

Waller praised the result as a historic victory, highlighting both Indian Country and the Osage Minerals Council had won.

The Supreme Court Participation

Source: Pinterest

After more than a decade-long legal fight, the case ultimately reached the nation’s Supreme Court.

In October 2011, the Osage Nation initiated a federal suit to stop the construction of a wind farm because the project was impeding its ability to explore the mineral asset further.

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Petition Rejection

Source: Pinterest

Although the respondent’s case and claim failed, they began renting the land for the construction barely a few years later.

Surrounded by highways, weather structures, above and below-ground conduits, plus 84 turbines, the windmill park occupied 8,400 acres of rented land in Osage County.

Building and Digging

Source: Pinterest

The building of these windmills started in October 2013. However, the structure’s excavation didn’t start till September 2014.

Subsequently, in November 2014, the US government launched a legal action, claiming the parties in question had been extracting and digging on the Osage Mineral Estate without authorization.

Needing an authorization

Source: Wikimedia Commons

The US Department of the Interior oversees the Osage Nation’s mineral privileges, and any extraction activities require permission issued by the tribe’s Minerals Committee.

National district court approval for the construction was granted in 2015; however, the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver reversed this decision in 2017.

ALSO READ: Trump Vows to Shelve Offshore Wind Projects on His First Day Back in Office

Restraining Order

Source: AUWCL/X

Although Choe-Groves granted an injunction for life in this particular matter, she explains that she considered several factors.

According to her judgment, she found no compelling basis to rule adversely on the public’s interests in the case.

Enel Energy

Source: Jason Mavrommatis/Unsplash

Enel Energy, the respondent, told the judge that it would take at least eighteen months and roughly $258 million to remove the turbines and restore the property.

In its submission, the US authorities claimed that Enel ought to be forced to submit a guarantee due to the backlog and shouldn’t be making money from its ongoing operations.

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