For as long as anyone can remember, the Native American tribes of the United States have been cheated out of their land. Thankfully, one judge just made sure to give some of it back.
It happened in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a decade long court battle has been fought over the rights and minerals of native Osage Nation land. US Court of International Trade Judge Jennifer Choe-Groves ruled that the Osage Nation’s rights had been ignored and trampled on by a wind farm company that came in and set up shop on native lands without getting the required permission.
And so the wind farm, in its entirety, has to go.
Osage Wind LLC, Enel Kansas LLC, and Enel Green Power North America apparently moved onto Osage lands over ten years ago and immediately began construction of a wind turbine farm. To do so, the company would first need to get a mining lease from the Osage Nation’s Minerals Council because they extracted tons of natural rock, crushed it, and then used it as a base and backfill for their now 80 wind turbines.
But no lease was ever asked for, and therefore no agreement between the Osage Nation and the energy company agreed upon. Essentially, the company just moved in without a second thought and began using minerals only the Osage Nation had rights to.
Naturally, the Osage were none too pleased and so the matter has been taken to court. You’d think the simple solution would be for the energy company to just ask for a lease. But more than ten years later, they still refuse to do so.
As Judge Choe-Groves wrote, “The developers failed to acquire a mining lease during or after construction, as well as after issuance of the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision holding that a mining lease was required.”
So, the Osage Nation was awarded injunctive relief by “ejectment of the wind turbine farm for continuing trespass.”
It’s a huge win for the Osage, all tribal lands, and the American people’s property rights.