Osage Nation

Posted: May 22, 2024 6:29 AMUpdated: May 22, 2024 6:29 AM

REPORT: Damage Trial Underway in Osage County and Tribal Wind Farm Fight

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A Federal Judge who ordered wind energy company Enel Green to remove 84 wind turbines and towers from the Osage Indian Reservation in Oklahoma, was scheduled this week to begin hearing arguments in a trial on damages in the case. reports that U.S. District Court Judge Jennifer Choe-Groves, of the U.S. Court of International Trade, ruled last December that Enel Green had to remove the wind turbine farm that became operational in 2015 because it did not obtain a lease from the tribe and continued to trespass all these years. She also ordered that a damages trial would be held to assess the amount of damages to be awarded for trespass and conversion.
The trial was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday. JudgeChoe-Groves’ ruling came after several years of legal battle waged by the federal government and the tribe against Osage Wind, LLC, Enel Kansas, LLC, and Enel Green Power North America, Inc.
Enel argues that the cost alone in removing the turbines and towers will be an estimated $300 million. It also maintained that the removal will take nearly 18 months.
In her December 2023 decision, the Judge pointed out that the three defendants were advised “on multiple occasions” by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Osage Mineral Council that the wind farm project required a lease related to the mineral estate. The estate constituted the digging of the ground to locate the individual wind towers. As the Judge noted, the defendants failed to obtain a required lease and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals held in 2017 that a lease was required.

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