Pawnee Nation Files Earthquake Lawsuit Against 2 Oil Companies - - Tulsa, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports - |


Pawnee Nation Files Earthquake Lawsuit Against 2 Oil Companies

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PAWNEE, Oklahoma -

The Pawnee Nation is suing two oil companies saying they're to blame for thousands of dollars in earthquake damage; the suit is the first of its kind.

You can see damage in about any building on the Pawnee Nation campus. Built in the 1880s, the old buildings hold a special place in the hearts of Pawnee Nation tribal members.

“This is where my mom was raised,” said Pawnee Nation Business Council VP Darrell Wildcat. “This was mom's home.”

The campus started out as the Pawnee Indian Boarding School, now, the buildings are home to government offices and the Pawnee Nation College.

“We're very proud of that,” said Andrew Knife Chief, Pawnee Nation Executive Director.

But they're not as proud to show off their historic campus these days – with bowed and sagging ceilings and warped floors.

Knife Chief said the state's largest earthquake last September is to blame for the damage.

9/3/2016 Related Story: 5.6 Magnitude Earthquake Rattles Oklahoma

“That was a game-changer for us where we decided, no more,” he said.

Friday, the Nation filed a lawsuit saying the damage to the buildings was caused by human-induced earthquakes linked to wastewater injection operations.

Weitz and Luxenberg Associate Attorney Curt Marshall said, “We're here to hold the energy companies accountable and to vindicate the right of the Nation.”

It's the first time an earthquake case has been filed in tribal court. The attorneys said that could speed up the process.

“The docket here is not as tight, not as congested, and we should be able to move things quickly,” said Scott Poynter with Poynter Law Group.

But, regardless of how long it takes, tribal members say the shaking must stop so their historic buildings can last another 140 years.

“They're not built to withstand earthquakes,” Knife Chief said.

Wildcat said, “I just want to see it last forever.”

Pawnee Nation said the goal of the suit is to be reimbursed for the damages. The Nation estimates there's about a quarter million dollars’ worth of damage.

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