Federal officials seek immediate halt to wind farm development in northern Oklahoma


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TULSA, Oklahoma — Federal authorities are seeking an immediate halt a large wind farm development in Osage County.

The Osage Nation has long opposed the Osage Wind project and tribal officials say the federal government's lawsuit won't be heard before construction of the more than 90 turbines finishes, the Tulsa World (http://bit.ly/1w3R4MJ ) reported.

Each turbine will stand over 400 feet high. Court records say each turbine's foundation requires a hole 50 feet wide and 10 to 30 feet deep.

Construction would remove more than 60,000 cubic yards of limestone and other rocks, which belong to the tribe under U.S. law, according to the preliminary injunction request filed by federal officials Tuesday.

If a judge approves the request, it would "put an immediate halt to the unauthorized mining activities now taking place," according to a statement from the tribe.

But developers say building a turbine foundation doesn't count as mining activity. The wind farm's construction is on private property and the owners have lease agreements with Enel Green Power North America.

Federal authorities have warned the developers to stop the work, but "they apparently elected to pursue a beat-the-clock strategy and have intensified excavation activities," the lawsuit states.

Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

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