4.10 Cultural Resources
Summary observation of this unit: It is deeply disturbing that FERC openly admits to relying so heavily on Transco to help it (FERC) fulfill its obligation to “take into account the effects of its undertakings” on historically and culturally significant sites. In what sense is Transco, the very company seeking to inflict potential harms on historical sites for its own financial profit, an objective agent to interact with SHPOs (State Historic Preservation Offices) in this way?
- Transco, on behalf of FERC, consulted with SHPOs in PA, VA, MD, NC, and SC. In PA, the SHPO (according to Transco) repeatedly “concurred” with Transco’s proposed field survey methodologies and various survey reports (4-182). Question: Did Transco communicate to FERC—or the public—the points on which PA’s SHPO did not “concur” with Transco’s field survey methodologies?
- On June 2, 2015, Transco submitted a “revised plan for unanticipated discoveries during construction” to each of these states. “To date,” however, “Transco has not filed the Pennsylvania [or Virginia, or Maryland, or North Carolina, or South Carolina] SHPO response to the revised plan.” (4-182/3)
- In April 2012, Maryland and North Carolina each “entered into a categorical exemption agreement with Transco.” No such agreement is mentioned for PA or SC. Question: On what basis did these SHPOs determine this project to warrant such an exemption? Was there any review mechanisms in place to challenge the eligibility of this project for such status?
- Transco is still “developing a plan” for crossing the Appalachian National Scenic Trail (4-183).
- Transco “continues to consult with the U.S. National Guard” for a route that avoids “known sensitive resources” across Fort Indiantown Gap National Guard Training Center (4-183).
- “To date, Transco has not filed a response from the Maryland Commission on Indian Affairs regarding the project” (4-183).
- Transco contacted 20 federally recognized Indian tribes that they determined “may have an interest” in the cultural and historical impact of this project. According to the DEIS, mention is made only of those tribes either seeking to be listed as “consulting parties” (which all 20 of them are, according to FERC), and/or wish to be notified in the event of “unanticipated discoveries” (4-183/4).
NOTE: The DEIS misleadingly states that the Delaware Nation simply “requested mitigation of sites that cannot be avoided” by the project in Lancaster County (4-184). More accurately—with the letter in front of me right now—the Delaware Nation’s letter to Transco (dated 12 March 2015) is, first and foremost, an appeal to protect the “large number of archaeological sites in and around Lancaster, PA, which constitute a re-route or avoidance.” The primary, stated intention of the letter is not to mitigate damage to these sites (as FERC follows Transco in stating); rather, it’s to keep the pipeline out of these areas altogether.
- The DEIS acknowledges sixteen (16) “archaeological sites” located in Lancaster within the APE (includes right-of-way and construction zone). Of these, only “one multi-component site (36LA1541) is recommended eligible by the PA SHPO; one other (36LA1540) has yet to be evaluated for eligibility. The DEIS claims that both sites “would be avoided” by the Conestoga River HDD (horizontal directional drilling). The other 14 sites, according to FERC, are not eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (4-184).
NOTE: Have the tribes themselves been consulted as to whether drilling under these two irreplaceable, recognized sites of cultural, historical, and religious significance is an acceptable mitigation strategy?
NOTE: Among the “other stakeholders” consulted for this project, including “state-recognized tribes,” there appear to be some glaring omissions. Three notable omissions of Native American parties who should have been consulted include: the Nanticoke Lenni-Lenape Tribe (who have extensive historical ties to eastern PA); Circle Legacy Center of Lancaster; and, the American Indian Movement (AIM) Lancaster PA Chapter.
- “In Pennsylvania, the cultural resources survey is about 60 percent complete for archaeological resources, with approximately 3,543 acres remaining, and 90 percent complete for architectural resources” (4-186). Question: How does FERC justify its issuance of this DEIS for a project based on a cultural resources survey that is only 60% complete? By any standard, this DEIS statement is flagrantly premature.
- In PA, Transco’s archaeological field surveys identified 31 archaeological sites within the APE: 6 prehistoric sites, 12 historic sites, and 13 multi-component sites. PA SHPO has declared sites 36LA1541 and 36LE0536 as “potentially eligible for NRHP and should be avoided or Phase II site evaluation would be necessary” (4-187).
- Four hundred and ten (410) “architectural resources” in PA were documented within the project construction zone (APE). Six were previously determined to be NRHP eligible; the PA SHPO has recommended that 41 more of these sites deserve consideration for NRHP eligibility. See Table 4.10.2-1 (Archaeological Sites) and Table 4.10.2-2 (Architectural Resources).
- “Compliance with section 106 of the NHPA has not been completed for the Project. Cultural resources surveys of portions of the project and consultation with the Pennsylvania SHPO and other parties has not been completed. Additionally, two archaeological sites in Pennsylvania require avoidance or additional testing to determine eligibility for listing on the NRHP, and the Pennsylvania SHPO has not provided comments on the NRHP eligibility of three archaeological sites.” (4-191, emphasis added)
NOTE: Again, given the flatly incomplete nature of Transco’s own archaeological, historical, cultural, and architectural surveys for the ASP through PA, FERC’s issuance of this DEIS appears to be grossly premature.