Oil and Gas Leases Threaten Nine Mile Canyon

Posted on: November 7th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation

 

Earl Ivan White)

Truck traffic threatens prehistoric rock art in Nine Mile Canyon. (Photo: Earl Ivan White)

Late last week, media reports revealed a plan by the Bureau of Land Management to sell oil and gas leases in areas of Utah that contain some the nation’s most significant cultural resources, including ancient rock art in the Nine Mile Canyon region. The reports suggested that these potential sales are being conducted with unusual haste in an effort to complete the sales before the administration changes in January of 2009.

While fully detailed maps of the affected areas are not yet available, we have managed to get some additional information on the specific parcels that would be affected. Unfortunately, it looks like they include thousands of acres within Nine Mile Canyon, which many people call the "World’s Longest Art Gallery."

Specifically, the sale contains at least 21 parcels totaling approx. 36,000 acres that are either partially or entirely within the Nine Mile Canyon Area of Critical Environmental Concern (which covers a total of 70,368 acres). Although BLM will sell the leases with No Surface Occupancy (NSO) stipulations - which generally prohibit the lessees from constructing wells, pipelines and other types of oil and gas infrastructure within the boundaries of the leases - BLM will not prohibit or restrain the lessees from using Nine Mile Canyon and its principal side canyons to access project areas on the West Tavaputs Plateau.

So, if issued, the leases will in all probability increase industrial traffic levels in the canyon. This is bad news. As those who have followed this issue know, it is the dust kicked up by heavy truck traffic through the Canyon that is causing damage to the rock art (also harmful are the chemical suppressants that ameliorate some of the dust, but also contribute to the degradation of the rock art).

We will continue to monitor the situation closely, but from what we’ve learned thus far, the BLM’s proposal would further increase truck traffic through the Canyon and dramatically exacerbate the damage to thousands of irreplaceable cultural artifacts.

-- Ti Hays & Virgil McDill

Ti Hays is the Public Lands Counsel and Virgil McDill is the Communications Manager at the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

In Memoriam: Dorothy Marie Miner, Preservation Lawyer, Educator, Advocate

Posted on: November 6th, 2008 by National Trust for Historic Preservation 2 Comments

 

Dorothy Marie Miner (© Historic Districts Council)

Dorothy Marie Miner (© Historic Districts Council)

Dorothy Marie Miner — preservation lawyer, educator, and stalwart defender of New York City's historic places — died on October 21, 2008. As legal counsel to the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission from 1975 to 1994, Dorothy’s close attention to detail and process protected the Commission, and the historic places it designated, from numerous legal challenges. She played an instrumental role in the court proceedings that eventually led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1978 ruling upholding the constitutionality of New York City’s Landmarks Preservation Law, as applied to protect Grand Central Terminal. Later, she played a critical role in a precedent-setting 1990 federal appeals court ruling upholding the City’s preservation law against both takings and Free Exercise challenges brought by St. Bartholomew's Church. That decision remains to this day the leading precedent under the U.S. Constitution regarding the landmarking of historic religious properties. In other important cases, Dorothy helped to defend the City’s effort to protect significant interiors, including a number of Broadway theaters.

Dorothy Miner's successful work at the forefront of preservation law in New York helped to ensure that historic places throughout the country would be protected as a result of the application of local landmark laws similar to New York’s. Paul Edmondson, general counsel of the National Trust for Historic Preservation remembered her work. "Dorothy's fierce defense of New York City's landmarks preservation law had direct national impact. As long as New York's preservation law stood on firm legal ground, other cities and counties throughout the country had strong precedent to support the legitimacy of their own local historic preservation laws." ... Read More →

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

National Trust for Historic Preservation

National Trust for Historic Preservation

The National Trust for Historic Preservation, a privately funded non-profit organization, works to save America's historic places.

Speak Up On Going Green

Posted on: November 6th, 2008 by Jason Clement 3 Comments

 

Speak Up: Sustainability and historic preservation go hand in hand because __________ .

From changing the way they get around (Prius, anyone?) to changing the way they shop (do you have your reusable grocery bag yet?), people are going green everywhere you look. It should therefore come as no surprise that a movement so ubiquitous is increasingly infiltrating our field.

This week, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Friends of the National Center for Preservation Training and Technology are convening 30 leaders in the historic preservation and sustainability fields at the Rockefeller Brothers Pocantcio Center in Tarrytown, NY, to discuss the three-way intersection of sustainable practices, historic preservation and public policy.  

Dubbed Sustainability & Historic Preservation: Making Policy, the overall goal of this meeting of the minds is to develop the core elements of a Sustainability and Preservation Charter. In acknowledging the inherent contributions of preservation to sustainability, this charter will call for the integration of sustainability principles into preservation policy and practice in such a way that is consistent with the values of our movement to protect and restore. 

So, while the thought leaders and subject matter experts discuss the details and policy nuances, we want to hear from you: Sustainability and historic preservation go hand in hand because...

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Jason Clement

Jason Clement

Jason Lloyd Clement is the director of community outreach at the National Trust, which is really just a fancy way of saying he’s a professional place lover. For him, any day that involves a bike, a camera, and a gritty historic neighborhood is basically the best day ever.

Notes from New Orleans: Victory for Citizen-Driven City Planning

Posted on: November 6th, 2008 by Walter Gallas

 

Along with all the other exciting developments on election day, came the news from the New Orleans electorate that a majority of them want a master plan with the force of law, tied to the comprehensive zoning ordinance, and offering a legislated citizen participation component. All of this locked in through the passage of an amendment to the New Orleans City Charter. The result was a real squeaker--passing by only two percentage points, 51 percent for, 49 percent against, but a victory nonetheless.

On Monday, I stood at a press conference called by City Council president Jackie Clarkson. Scores of New Orleanians representing a coalition for the passage of the charter amendment attended. On election day, signs simply saying "NO" were planted on the neutral grounds of streets around town, but it was clear what they were referring to. Countering this was a television, sign, and leaflet campaign urging "Vote Yes for Citizen-Driven City Planning." Clearly it convinced enough people to bring the approval numbers over the top, despite lots of misunderstanding about what really was being voted on.

Now we return to the process already underway. Another citywide planning forum is this Saturday. Meetings at the neighborhood level are next week. The effort is under the primary direction of the consulting firm Goody Clancy of Boston.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

 

President-Elect Barack Obama. (Photo: BarackObama.com)

President-Elect Barack Obama. (Photo: BarackObama.com)

Here at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, we take pride in the fact that we have supporters of all political stripes. A love of, and respect for, the places that matter to us as people and as a nation transcends ideology; historic preservation is a cause that has room for everyone. And just as President-Elect Obama  last night told the nation that he'd work to be everyone's president -- even of those whose votes he didn't receive -- we also want to be a preservation organization that speaks for all of us.

We've crafted a preservation platform that we will soon deliver to the transition team. Take our platform survey now to make your voice heard in our goals for our new administration.

Last night, Barack Obama made history. Every day, with your help, we work to save it.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern

Sarah Heffern is the social media strategist for the National Trust’s Public Affairs team. While she embraces all things online and pixel-centric, she’s also a hard-core building hugger, having fallen for preservation in a fifth grade “Built Environment” class. Follow her on Twitter at @smheffern.