Ohio wind farm poses no threat to Indian burial mound

UNITED STATES: A planned wind farm development in Ohio has been given the all-clear by a local Native American group after having previously drawn ire from the tribe.

Gene Park, an elder of the Alabama-based Piqua Shawnee Tribe today announced that, contrary to the groups earlier assumptions, the Buckeye Wind Farm project poses no threat to an ancient Pawnee burial mound located in Urbana, Ohio.

Park also thanked developer Everpower Wind Holdings for their "sensitivity" in dealing with the tribe’s grievances.

"The information they got said that we were going to build a tower on a burial mound – but we invited them up and they were very happy with what we were planning," Dan Lagiovane of Everpower said.

"In fact we’re about 900ft from the mound. Basically it was a misunderstanding," he added.

When completed, the Buckeye plant should provide 125MW of power from around 70 turbines. The farm should be operational in 2011.

Ohio – known as the Buckeye state – should see several large scale wind farms come online in the next few years, the largest being the two-phase Black Fork project in the centre of the state. When both phases of the Gary Energetics project are operational – planned for 2013  - it should provide over 450MW of power.

Other major planned facilities include the 350MW Blue Creek Ohio farm – due online in 2012 and Hardin Wind Energy’s Hardin County 300MW project, which should go online next year. 

This is not the first time a wind developement has potentially infringed on Native American traditions. The Wampanoag, a tribe based in Massachusetts said the Cape Wind offshore project would infringe on their centuries-old traditions.

The tribe have for centuries observed the first light of the sun rising up in Nantucket Sound. The tribes attempted and failed to have the area listed as a cultural heritage site.