Planned Osage County wind farm continues to draw stiff breeze of opposition

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: June 10, 2013
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“When I started in this business,” said Tom Green, who's trying to build a wind farm in Osage County, “I never imagined that people would think that wind was the environmental problem.”

Welcome to reality. As Green is finding out, the idea of using more renewable energy is a winner with most Americans. But when the plans are actually put in place, and those plans involve cluttering the view or crossing property lines, trouble can brew.

That's been the case for Green's employer, St. Louis-based Wind Capital Group. It ran into opposition from the Osage Tribe soon after formally announcing in 2011 that it planned to construct a wind farm. The tribe said the site was former hunting grounds, and that the turbines, transmission lines and roads would impact oil production and adversely affect the local ecosystem.

The latest concern involves the 94 turbines' potential effects on bald eagles that nest in the area. The executive director of the Sutton Avian Research Center in Bartlesville, which has helped the state's bald eagle population rebound, says he's a fan of new energy sources — but having turbines near eagles' hunting grounds is a problem.

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