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Osage Oppose Wind Power at Tallgrass Prairie

Hugh Pickens writes (1984118) writes | more than 3 years ago

Earth 0

Hugh Pickens writes writes "The Tulsa World reports that Principal Chief John D. Red Eagle of the Osage Nation says the tribe, although not opposed to alternative energy development in general, has found significant reasons to oppose wind farms on the tallgrass prairie, "a true national treasure" whose last small fragments remain only in Osage County and in Kansas. The Osage County wind farms would not be built in the Nature Conservancy's Tallgrass Prairie Preserve, located northeast of Ponca City, but would be visible from it and Preserve Director Bob Hamilton has urged the county and the state to steer wind development to areas of the county that are not ecologically sensitive. "Not all areas in the Osage are sensitive," says Hamilton. "What makes the tallgrass prairie so special is its big landscape. It's not just local — it has global significance." The Osage also fear that large wind farms will interfere with extracting oil and gas, from which royalties are paid in support of tribal members as the Osage retain their tribal mineral rights owned in common by members of the tribe. "They weren't thinking about the mineral estate — just about compensating landowners," says Galen Crum, chairman of the tribal Minerals Council. "How are we supposed to know the price of oil in 50 years?""

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