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US files for preliminary injunction to halt wind turbine construction

The United States filed for a preliminary injunction to halt construction of 94 industrial wind turbines in Osage County Dec. 2, two of which have been completed.

The motion, filed in the Northern Oklahoma District Court in Tulsa, asks the court to halt “all excavation, digging and earth-moving activities” in Osage County. It cites irreparable harm to the Osage Minerals Estate and notes the public interest involved in stopping the construction of the turbines favors an injunction to be granted.

The U.S. cites the 25 C.F.R.’s, the federal regulations governing the minerals estate. The “mineral estate of that [Osage] reservation has remained held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the Osage Nation to this very day.” The motion cites discovery of unpermitted excavation sites approximately 10 feet deep and between 50 and 60 feet in diameter.

The Osage Minerals Council must first approve a lease for any excavation of mineral other than oil and gas to take place. The Osage Agency superintendent must then sign off on the lease. According to the motion, the defendants ignored the federal regulations and spent $800 million without waiting for a $40 permit to issue.

According to the motion, materials excavated to fill the bases of the wind turbines include sand, soil of various types and a variety of native rocks, including limestone and other minerals reserved to the subsurface estate. An Oct. 9 letter, sent to Francesco Venturini, president of Enel Green Power North America, Inc., from BIA Superintendent Robin Phillips, notified him to acquire a sandy soil permit before continuing construction, the letter was ignored.

The eight-member Osage Minerals Council released a statement on the filing.

“The Osage Minerals Council applauds the United State for recognizing the need to stop construction immediately,” according to the release. “The Osage Minerals Estate has, and will continue to be, irreparably harmed by Defendants’ unauthorized excavation activities. We look forward to the Court granting the United States’ preliminary injunction motion.”

To download a copy of the motion, visit:



Shannon Shaw Duty

Original Publish Date: 2014-12-02 00:00:00


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Shannon Shaw Duty
Shannon Shaw Duty

Title: Editor


Twitter: @dutyshaw

Topic Expertise: Columnist, Culture, Community

Languages spoken: English, Osage (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)

Shannon Shaw Duty, Osage from the Grayhorse District, is the editor of the award-winning Osage News, the official independent media of the Osage Nation. She is a graduate of the University of Oklahoma with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and a master’s degree in Legal Studies with an emphasis in Indigenous Peoples Law. She currently sits on the Freedom of Information Committee for the Society of Professional Journalists. She has served as a board member for LION Publishers, as Vice President for the Pawhuska Public Schools Board of Education, on the Board of Directors for the Native American Journalists Association (now Indigenous Journalists Association) and served as a board member and Chairwoman for the Pawhuska Johnson O’Malley Parent Committee. She is a Chips Quinn Scholar, a former instructor for the Freedom Forum’s Native American Journalism Career Conference and the Freedom Forum’s American Indian Journalism Institute. She is a former reporter for The Santa Fe New Mexican. She is a 2012 recipient of the Native American 40 Under 40 from the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development. In 2014 she helped lead the Osage News to receive NAJA's Elias Boudinot Free Press Award. The Osage News won Best Newspaper from the SPJ-Oklahoma Chapter in their division 2018-2022. Her award-winning work has been published in Indian Country Today, The Washington Post, the Center for Public Integrity, NPR, the Associated Press, Tulsa World and others. She currently resides in Pawhuska, Okla., with her husband and together they share six children, two dogs and two cats.

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