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Selected Section 106 Cases, 1986-1996: Rocky Mountain

Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Wyoming

California Gulch Superfund site, Leadville, Colorado, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1990. The Council and the Colorado SHPO worked with EPA and the American Smelting and Refining Company to design and implement remedial actions for the cleanup, removal, and isolation of hazardous wastes within the California Gulch site in Leadville, a National Historic Landmark District. An agreement originally reached in 1990 and amended in 1994 provides for expedited plan review and expanded public participation in development of studies, plans, and reports. The agreed-upon solution promotes specific procedures for field investigations of remedial actions that will have minimal effect on historic resources; sets forth guidance on dealing with discovery of previously unanticipated historic resources (including archeological remains) during cleanup activities; and sets standards for preservation, curation, and public interpretation of artifacts and other remains.

Speer Boulevard viaduct replacement, Denver, Colorado, Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), 1987. Using FHWA funds, the Colorado Highway Department and the City and County of Denver proposed the demolition and replacement of the 13th and 14th Street viaducts due to their deteriorated, weakened structural condition, along with demolition of an adjacent building. Standard provisions were agreed upon for recordation of the historic structures. However, because the project was located in the area of the original Denver town site, the Council insisted on provisions to cover the possible discovery of archeological remains during the project. Further planning and field investigations prior to construction identified the archeological remains of the Tremont Hotel, one of the earliest brick buildings in Denver that dated from the 1860s. The hotel had served as an important community landmark and the location of the first two Territorial Governors' inaugural speeches before its demolition in 1911. The historic archeological project in the middle of the city attracted substantial public and media interest, provided for onsite visits and other interpretation of the remains, and resulted in no construction delays for the highway work.

Butte Superfund site, Butte, Montana, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 1994. The Council successfully negotiated a Programmatic Agreement for the application of EPA Superfund procedures in the cleanup of Butte and Anaconda-Deerlodge, Montana, an area polluted by more than 100 years of open pit and other mining activities. The local governments, EPA, the Montana SHPO, the mining interests, and the Council developed a phased approach to integrate cleanup work with ongoing efforts to develop the area into a tourist destination and take advantage of opportunities to interpret its rich heritage. The result is a plan that will respect the past through history-oriented interpretive and recreational opportunities while making a valuable contribution to the local economy. Such successful resolution would not have been possible without the Council and the Section 106 consultation process.

El Paso Gas Pipeline, New Mexico and Texas, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 1995. The Diamond Shamrock Enterprises (DSE) planned to install a 10-inch gasoline product pipeline across a 500-mile area of southeastern New Mexico and western Texas. About 100 miles of the pipeline were to traverse land under the jurisdiction of BLM. The Council first became aware of the project in mid-December 1994. DSE was eager to begin construction in February 1995, so that the pipeline could be laid before local farmers had to prepare their fields for spring planting. Because the project was so urgent, the Council, the New Mexico SHPO, representatives of BLM, and DSE met in Albuquerque in January 1995 to draft a PA. During the next month, all parties worked at top speed to complete the PA, draft a monitoring and avoidance plan for any significant archeological properties that might be encountered during pipeline right-of-way preparation and construction, and help ensure that DSE could meet its field schedule. The PA was signed on February 17, 1995, allowing DSE to begin construction as planned three days later.

Fence Lake Coal Mine, New Mexico, Bureau of Land Management (BLM)-Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement (OSM), 1993. The proposed development of a coal mine near Fence Lake, New Mexico, raised considerable concern among surrounding Indian communities about the potential destruction of hundreds of prehistoric Puebloan sites, prehistoric human burials, and sites of traditional cultural value, such as the Zuni Salt Lake. Through Section 106 consultation, BLM (which approved a lease for mining on Federal lands), OSM (which oversees the State's mining plan permit process), and the Salt River Project (the permit applicant) worked closely with concerned Indian tribes to identify specific sites of traditional cultural value. They also developed measures to avoid or minimize the effects of the project on Native American human remains and sacred sites. The Council and the New Mexico and Arizona SHPOs worked with the agencies to develop a workable agreement that ensured the involvement of Indian tribes in the decisionmaking process and outlined the requirements of a comprehensive treatment plan for affected archeological resources. Despite their longstanding objections to mining in this area, the tribes agreed to work with BLM and OSM to ensure maximum protection to properties of Native American concern.

BWAB Oil Well, Thermopolis, Wyoming, Bureau of Land Management (BLM), 1991. BWAB, Inc., an energy development firm, proposed in 1990 to drill an exploratory oil well on land near Thermopolis in the north-central part of the State. The well required a 13-mile access road across both public and private lands, much of it following existing unimproved road right-of-way, and necessitated a permit from BLM. During identification work, five historic sites were identified. One of these, Eagles Nest Ranch, was a historic ranch complex built on top of a prehistoric site containing rock art panels. Consultation to determine how to proceed included two private landowners, the Crow Tribe and the Wind River Shoshone Tribe (both of whom had concerns about the traditional cultural values associated with the rock art sites). Under an agreement reached in 1991, physical protection and avoidance of historic properties subject to direct and indirect effects was emphasized. On the Eagles Nest Ranch, the agreement provided for photo documentation of the ranch, placement of geotextile fabric and Unimat on the road to minimize surface disturbance, restricted tree cutting, and restrictions on the speed of heavy trucks to minimize vibrations. Archeological sites were partially avoided and subject to minor data recovery and monitoring during construction and use of the area. At the extant rock art panels of importance to Native Americans, BWAB agreed to provide road security, post warning signs, and institute other measures to limit unauthorized access or damage to these important cultural sites.

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