Library from Oklahoma
The Osage Nation is concerned that 94 wind turbines and their network of electrical lines and roads would interfere with oil production and harm the delicate ecosystem of the tallgrass prairie. The complaint says each of the turbines would require extensive digging to create deep pits containing concrete foundations similar to those required in the construction of tall buildings.
Word, Eagle Claw president, said sluggish economic conditions and Washington gridlock contributed to private investors' hesitation to fund the alternative-energy project. The political fallout from the federal investigation of Solyndra, a California company that makes solar panels, didn't help either.
Anderson Trucking Service, a Minnesota-based trucking company, and DMI Industries Inc., a company that manufactures and transports wind turbine parts, are also defendants. Crawford and Lethiot were working for the companies at the time of the crash, the suit says.
"The Osage Nation will not wait until the damage is done to the tallgrass prairie by this industrial wind project to take legal action," White said. "The Osage Minerals Council has a legal team in place and preparation is nearly complete to file against the proper parties in this matter.
Osage Nation and local ranchers say they don't oppose green energy. But building wind farms in the county will do more harm than good. The sprawling land of Osage County is home to oil fields and cattle ranches. Old industries are being threatened by new technology. Wind Capital Group wants to put up nearly 100 wind turbines.
Proposed wind farm development in Osage County may interfere with the Osage Nation's mineral estate, according to the Bureau of Indian Affairs. ..."Thus, the mineral estate cannot be denied reasonable access to the surface, and may, indeed, use so much of the surface estate as may be necessary to develop and produce the minerals."
Wind Capital plans to start building within a few months and has signed a deal to buy the turbines from General Electric. The turbines will stand mostly north of U.S. 60, a highway that is federally designated a scenic byway, but a few will flank the road to the south. ...The Osage Nation is powerfully opposed to the wind farm and vowed to stop it.
With the deck stacked in favor of building, he said, if systems aren't designed to keep costs down, ratepayers will suffer the most. "I'm not opposed to building transmission lines, but right now it's sort of the gold rush," Springe said. "I'd like to see a few more checks and balances, and actually building in the least-cost way for customers."
It is my opinion that the proposed projects will have an adverse impact upon the overall ecosystem of the Tallgrass Prairie, a true national treasure. The last remnants of the Tallgrass Prairie run from Osage County northward, into northern Kansas and I believe that the Osage Nation must join others in its protection, restoration, and properly make use of the limited opportunities.
"The Southern Great Plains Property Rights Coalition supports any legislation which will help landowners protect their property now and for future generations," the group said Friday. "We feel this is a step in the right direction.
What could possibly go wrong working with a structure that is 375 ft tall with 270 ft blades? George Manning, E-911 Coordinator for the Grady County Sheriff's Office, said that there are a number of potential emergencies.
"We are supportive of green energy, but this is what you could call dirty-green energy," Hamilton said. "Wind farms are an industrial project and we are saying, 'Please don't put your industrial operations in one of the last tallgrass prairies. If you do this, you could create a dead zone for prairie chickens.' "
Wildlife advocates argue they're not on some quixotic quest - not tilting at windmills. The extinction of dozens, if not hundreds, of animal species by man's encroachment over the years is powerful evidence that we must zealously protect endangered species. We cannot allow Darwin to just sort it out.
The Nature Conservancy has been an opponent of wind development in the proposed area, saying the turbines would fragment the last unspoiled prairie in the U.S., disrupting breeding grounds for prairie chickens, birds of prey, and other fauna. "This is the last frontier for the tallgrass prairie left in America," said Bob Hamilton.
Jimmy Glotfelty, Clean Line's executive vice president for external affairs, said he is optimistic commissioners will approve the company's application, which he admitted raises new issues for state regulators.
Two audience members brought up concerns involving Altus Air Force Base. Eyerly freely admitted that AAFB would prefer that Wind Works "relocate the project 30 miles away." ...The easiest way to do so, he thought, would be to build another radar tower on the other side of the base at the wind company's expense.
"It's a tricky kind of difficult issue for the Nature Conservancy. We are a conservation organization," Hamilton said, "so we are tremendously supportive of all alternative types of energy production. Our concern comes down to more less, location, location, location."
Osage County commissioners tabled a vote Monday on a proposed wind energy ordinance that has been criticized by tribal leaders and conservationists who say it needs "more teeth" to protect one of the last stretches of tallgrass prairie in the United States.
The Southern Great Plains Property Rights Coalition has reached an agreement to withdraw its challenge to Clean Line Energy's bid for utility status in Oklahoma, but coalition leaders said the group has not endorsed the company's application.
Clean Line Energy representatives hope to resolve a number of issues with landowners before they connect a transmission line to wind turbines in northwest Oklahoma. For that reason, company representatives have asked for and have been granted a continuance until early March on a hearing that would grant the Houston-based company public utility status in Oklahoma with Oklahoma Corporation Commission.