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Geothermal Projects and Indian Tribes: Dealing with Cultural Resources Issues Michael P. O’Connell Stoel Rives LLP 206-386-7692 O R.

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Presentation on theme: "Geothermal Projects and Indian Tribes: Dealing with Cultural Resources Issues Michael P. O’Connell Stoel Rives LLP 206-386-7692 O R."— Presentation transcript:

1 Geothermal Projects and Indian Tribes: Dealing with Cultural Resources Issues Michael P. O’Connell Stoel Rives LLP O R E G O N W A S H I N G T O N C A L I F O R N I A U T A H I D A H O

2 Principle Federal Laws  National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Section 106, 16 U.S.C. § 470f Federal agency must “take into account the effect of the undertakings on any” properties listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”) Federal agency must evaluate impacts of proposed action and alternatives on cultural resources

3 Federal Land  NHPA and NEPA apply to federal agency actions  Native American Graves and Repatriation Act (“NAGPRA”) protects Indian human remains, funerary objects and cultural resources  Archaeological Resources Protection Act (“ARPA”) requires permit for removal of NAGPRA protected objects  NAGPRA and ARPA require agency consultation with tribes

4 Federal Land Cases  Pit River Indian Tribe v. Forest Service, (9 th Cir. 2006) (BLM and Forest Service geothermal project approvals set aside for failure to take into account impacts on tribal cultural resources)  Comanche Nation v. U.S., (W.D. Okla. 2008) (Army construction project enjoined for failure to take into account impacts on tribal cultural resources)

5 Indian Reservations  Tribal cultural resource protection laws  NHPA and NEPA apply to federal actions  NAGPRA and ARPA apply  Attakai v. United States, (D. Ariz. 1990) (enjoined range fencing project pending consultation; consultation determined no tribal historic properties were affected)

6 Other Land  Most states have laws protecting Indian graves and cultural resources  NHPA and NEPA when federal action is involved

7 Other Land Cases  Lummi Nation v. Golder Associates, Inc., (W.D. Wash. 2002) ($4.25 million to settle state-law claims regarding impacts on Indian graves; site abandoned)  Port Angeles Graving Dock (Washington DOT abandoned site after three years and over $80 million investment, despite prior (inadequate) consultation with SHPO)

8 Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs)  Properties of “traditional religious and cultural importance” to federally recognized Indian tribes may be “eligible for inclusion on the National Register.” 16 U.S.C. § 470a(d)(6)(A)  “Federal Agency shall consult with any Indian tribe... that attaches religious and cultural significance to [such] properties,” 16 U.S.C. § 470a(d)(6)(B)

9 NHPA Section 106  Federal agency must “take into account the effect of the undertakings on any” properties listed on or eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.  Like NEPA, section 106 is a “stop, look, and listen” procedural statute  Compliance is federal agency’s responsibility

10 Section 106 Process  Section 106 regulations apply to all federal agencies. 36 C.F.R. Part 800  Section 106 regulations prescribe a rigorous, multi-step process

11 1. Identify Interested Parties and Tribes  Agency official “shall make a reasonable and good faith effort to identify any Indian tribe... that might attach religious and cultural significance to historic properties in the area of potential effects [APE] and invite them to be consulting parties.” 36 C.F.R. § 800.3(f)(2)  Interested tribes may be hundreds of miles from the APE

12 2. APE Determination  APE is area where undertaking may cause alterations to character or use of historic properties  Regulations require agencies to consult with the SHPO or tribes for this step; failure to do so may generate disputes regarding APE scope  Some section 106 consultations establish one APE for traditional historic properties and another for TCPs

13 3. Identify Historic Properties Within APE  Consult with SHPO and any Indian tribe that might attaches religious and cultural significance to historic properties in the APE  Agency’s level of effort: Reasonable and good faith effort to carry out appropriate identification efforts “[T]ake into account confidentiality concerns of Indian tribes.” 36 C.F.R. § 800.4(b)(1) Phased identification may be used for linear projects, large areas, or where access to property is restricted – § 800.4(b)(2)

14 4. National Register Listing Eligibility  For properties outside reservation, agency needs SHPO concurrence; inside reservations, THPO or Indian tribe  If SHPO/THPO does not concur, eligibility issue goes to the Keeper of the National Register  Agency must acknowledge that Indian tribes have “special expertise” in assessing eligibility of TCPs

15 National Register Eligibility (cont’d)  If the agency and Indian tribe disagree on eligibility: The action agency may agree to regard the property as eligible and proceed to next step of assessing adverse effects Tribe may request the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to request an eligibility determination by the Secretary of the Interior under 36 C.F.R. Part 63

16 5. Assessment of Adverse Effects  Agency must consider the views of Indian tribes  An adverse effect exists if an undertaking may alter any characteristic that qualifies a property for National Register listing in a manner that would “diminish the integrity of the property’s location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, or association.”

17 Assessment of Adverse Effects  If a timely objection is made, the agency must consult with the objector or request ACHP review. If the ACHP timely responds, the agency must prepare a summary “that contains the rationale for the decision and evidence of consideration of the [ACHP’s] opinion” The agency can adopt the ACHP’s response or affirm it’s no adverse effect determination; either way, the agency’s section 106 responsibilities are fulfilled.

18 Assessment of Adverse Effects  Agency and Indian tribe may agree to mitigation measures that support a no adverse effect determination

19 7. Resolution of Adverse Effects  Avoidance, minimization, and mitigation If agreement is reached at this step, set it forth in MOA  Required MOA signatories –Action agency –SHPO/THPO (if effects are within a reservation)  Invited signatories are not mandatory –Indian tribes may be invited to sign for effects outside reservation

20 Resolution of Adverse Effects  Inadvertent discoveries protocol May be included in MOA If not, and inadvertent discovery is encountered, consultation must be initiated  Muckleshoot Indian Tribe v. Forest Service, (Forest Service failed to consider alternatives that could have protected tribal member cultural and religious uses in land exchange)

21 8: Failure to Resolve Adverse Effects  Consultation may be terminated by agency, SHPO/TPHO or ACHP  Unless THPO or tribe is involved for on- reservation impacts, a tribe cannot terminate a consultation

22 9. Section 106 Program Alternatives  Authorized by 36 C.F.R. § Alternate procedures Programmatic Agreements (PAs) for phased identification, large areas, corridor projects – 36 C.F.R § (b)(2) ACHP approval required  Agency proposing program alternatives must consult with affected tribes

23 Confidentiality  Tribes frequently are concerned that providing information may lead to looting or impede their use of sites  Under section 304,16 U.S.C. § 470w-3(a), an agency may withhold information from public disclosure That would cause an invasion of privacy Risk harm to historic resources Impede use of a traditional religious site by practitioners

24 Confidentiality (cont’d)  Agency head must determines that the information qualifies under section 304(a) and the Secretary of the Interior must determines who may have access.  Information not so protected is subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act and NHPA regulations, 36 C.F.R. § 800.2(d)(2)

25 Inadvertent Discoveries  PA or MOA may address what to do – if so, implement the plan  If not: Initiate consultation if discovery occurs after section 106 process is completed and agency has not approved the undertaking If agency, SHPO, and Indian tribes agree that property is of value solely for data recovery purposes, data recovery may be conducted under Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act

26 Inadvertent Discoveries If undertaking has been approved and construction has commenced, agency must determine actions that resolve adverse effects, notify SHPO, interested tribes, and ACHP within 48 hours of discovery; SHPO, tribes, and ACHP have 48 hours to respond; agency must take recommendations into account, carry out appropriate actions, and report to SHPO, tribes and ACHP  On federal and Indian reservation lands, NAGPRA and ARPA also apply

27 Resources  Consultation with Indian Tribes in the Section 106 Review Process: A Handbook (ACHP November 2008)  Policy Statement Regarding Treatment of Burial Sites, Human Remains and Funerary Objects (ACHP 2007)  S. Hutt et al, Cultural Property Law: A Practitioner’s Guide to the Management, Protection, and Preservation of Heritage Resources (American Bar Association 2004)  T. King, Places That Count, Traditional Cultural Properties in Cultural Resource Management (2003)  T. King, Cultural Resource Laws and Practice: An Introductory Guide (2000)  Bulletin 38, Guidelines for Evaluating and Documenting Traditional Cultural Properties, National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior


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