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Rosebud Sioux Tribe won't give up on wind energy despite delays

A photo simulation of the Owl Feather War Bonnet wind farm on the Rosebud Sioux Reservation in South Dakota. Image from Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility Commission

The Rosebud Sioux Tribe of South Dakota made a splash in 2008 when it announced plans for a wind farm on the reservation.

Seven years later, the tribe is still working on the 30-megawatt Owl Feather War Bonnet wind farm. The reason for the delay can be traced to a familiar culprit -- the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

The BIA took so long to approve the lease for the farm that agreements with utility companies that were going to buy the power expired. A report from the Government Accountability Office said it took the agency 18 months to make the decision.

"According to the developer of the project, the review time caused the project to be delayed and resulted in the project losing an interconnection agreement with the local utility," the report said. "Without this agreement, the project has not been able to move forward, resulting in a loss of revenue for the tribe."

The tribe, however, isn't giving up. The agreements are being re-negotiated, High Country News reported.

“We haven’t given up on it yet,” Ronald Neiss, the president of the Rosebud Sioux Tribal Utility Commission, told HCN.

Get the Story:
Renewable energy on tribal lands stalls out (High Country News 7/3)

Government Accountability Office Report:
Indian Energy Development: Poor Management by BIA Has Hindered Energy Development on Indian Lands (June 2015)

Related Stories:
Jay Daniels: Energy mismanagement at BIA isn't anything new (06/23)
GAO report questions BIA's management of Indian energy duties (06/15)

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