Judge Hears Testimony in Osage Wind Farm Damages Trial

News 6 - May 22, 2024 6:00 am

A federal judge heard testimony over damages due the Osage Mineral Council in the long-running dispute over construction of the Osage Wind Farm. The same judge has already ordered Enel Energy to remove the wind farm, and pay damages to the Council, on behalf of the individual headright owners who have so far received nothing.

Construction started in 2014 over the objections of the Osage Nation, the Minerals Council, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs. The Minerals Council requires permits for any substantial excavation into its mineral estate.

Osage Wind, near Burbank, consists of 84 turbines over about 8,000 acres. Six landowners leased land for the project, but the subsurface rights were not leased.

Testimony from the trial was that each turbine required a hole 10 feet deep and 52 feet across, and the buried lines for the project involved trenching 33 miles.

Experts testifying on behalf of the US Government, which holds the minerals in Trust for the Nation, determined the damage to the land was about $31 million, and the royalty value of the rock was $242,000. Punitive damages could also be assessed in the non-jury trial.

The same judge has already ruled that Enel built the project illegally, but the original verdict is being appealed. The damages trial is expected to last two weeks.

 

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