Wind turbines in rural Osage County will soon be producing clean, renewable energy. It is a big investment that some see as a step in the right direction, but it has others asking, 'At what cost?'
"From my perspective as an eagle rehabilitator and a Native-American, I see this as something that is foreseeing deaths and that they're giving them a free pass." Gary Siftar is a Cherokee Indian who has done extensive work with eagles and the Audubon Society.
With a major wind energy development on Osage Indian land that will bring in 94 wind turbines, producing electricity to sell in a power purchase agreement, it is now about more than just energy production.
The company overseeing the development - Wind Capital Group - is requesting a "Take Permit" that would allow the deaths of some Bald Eagles on the site, without penalty. This, Siftar says, is not worth it.
"I don't know what you can do, short of not allowing it, and that's basically not going to happen," he added.
Wind Capital Group's website touts, "strong community and governmental support" for the project. But, Siftar says, with a large Bald Eagle population nearby and the sacred beliefs surrounding the birds among Native American culture, they will be in danger.
Siftar says he sympathizes with the Osage Tribe - whose land, the new development, will call home. "I feel for them, I'm aligned with them and, you know, we're brothers - In this together. And I don't know what can be done. I certainly hope that their message can be taken and acted upon," he said.
Tulsa's Channel 8 tried to contact Wind Capital Group for comment, but our calls were not returned.
Siftar pointed out that he does want to see more renewable energy in the U.S. - but not in this case.
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