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Home arrow News arrow ACHP Streamlines Preservation Review for Historic Natural Gas Pipelines
ACHP Streamlines Preservation Review for Historic Natural Gas Pipelines


May 1, 2002, Washington, DC—In an effort to balance historic preservation concerns with energy needs, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has collaborated with the natural gas industry and Federal agencies to remove the obligation to consider effects on historic natural gas pipelines during the formal Federal preservation review process.

This streamlining initiative furthers the National Energy Policy and Executive Order 13212, which requires Federal agencies to accelerate projects that will increase energy production while maintaining safety, public health, and environmental protections.

Text of the exemption and subsequent clarification are available in PDF format at and

"We are proud of this cooperative effort with industry and believe it serves both preservation and energy goals," ACHP chairman John L. Nau, III, said.

Normally, Federal agencies must consider the effects of their actions on properties that meet the criteria for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. Certain pipelines can fall under this category due to their significant engineering features or their association with important historic events, such as the famous Big Inch pipeline of World War II. However, most often the historic value of these engineering landmarks lies in their construction and features, which is best preserved and interpreted by documenting the pipeline.

January 1998: FERC Chairman Jim Hoecker signed the agreement between State and Federal authorities and Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation, giving historic preservation status to the Big Inch and Little Big Inch natural gas pipelines.

With Hoecker are, left to right, Rich Hoffman, Office of Pipeline Regulation, FERC; Nils Nichols, Office of General Counsel, FERC; Laura Henley Dean, Office of Planning and Review, Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; and Jon Benjamin, Texas Eastern Transmission Corporation. (Photograph courtesy of FERC)

Accordingly, the new ACHP exemption frees Federal agencies from considering the effects of their undertakings on historic pipelines, except when such a pipeline is slated for abandonment, in which case the pipeline owner will simply be required to document the pipeline before it is abandoned. This will avoid delays for maintenance necessary to protect public health, ensure pipeline safety, and provide essential energy resources.

ACHP, an independent Federal agency, serves as primary policy advisor to the President and Congress on historic preservation matters and oversees an administrative review process that requires Federal agencies to consider historic properties when planning projects. ACHP is headquartered in Washington, DC, with an office in Denver, Colorado.

Updated May 6, 2002

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