Frequently, public lands are home to archaeological or historic sites that are listed or eligible to be listed in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA requires the Forest Service to make a literature search to determine whether oil and gas leasing may affect any areas listed or eligible to be listed on the National Register. In addition, the Forest Service must request the views of the State Historic Preservation Officer and seek information from other interested parties who are likely to know about historic properties in the area. The agency must make a “reasonably good faith effort” to identify historic properties that may be affected by its undertaking and gather sufficient information to evaluate the eligibility of these properties for the National Register. If you believe an area has significant cultural resources, ask FS to perform a thorough on-the-ground cultural resource survey before any construction begins or before any leases are issued. If potential adverse effects are identified, FS must consult with the Council on Historic Preservation, the State Historic Preservation Officer, and other interested parties about mitigation measures.
There may also be Native American burial grounds or other sites that are important for worship or ceremonial uses in the area. The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990requires federal agencies to consult with Native Americans concerning activities that may affect archaeological resources of importance to them. Drilling can affect these sites directly, by destroying them during construction, or indirectly, by changing the character of their surroundings, and by providing improved public access that leads to vandalism.
Specific Issues to Raise: