Addressing Today’s Issues with Yesterday’s Tools

Author(s): Jamie Palmer

Year: 2018


Dakota Access Pipeline. Ruby Pipeline. Ocotillo Wind Energy Facility. Topock Natural Gas Compressor Station. These are just a few examples of projects where the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) failed to protect cultural resources deemed significant by Native American tribes. In these instances, why did NHPA fail? Largely because NHPA does not consider impacts to the complete suite of cultural resources. It only addresses historic properties and historic properties "of traditional religious and cultural significance". This narrow focus makes NHPA a less-than-perfect tool to deal with cultural resources when it comes to today’s current issues and concerns. Is there an alternative? For years, experts suggest that the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is better equipped to protect a wider range of cultural resources. In this presentation, I highlight several court cases where NEPA has successfully protected cultural resources when NHPA has failed to do so under similar circumstances. This ultimately shows the broad strokes of NEPA are a stronger tool for preserving cultural resources today rather than the limiting paintbrush of NHPA.

Cite this Record

Addressing Today’s Issues with Yesterday’s Tools. Jamie Palmer. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 444838)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -168.574; min lat: 7.014 ; max long: -54.844; max lat: 74.683 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 20188