The Bakken-Where History & the Future Intersect
“Cultural Resource Management” – wow , that’s a big governmental sounding term! So, let’s just call it CRM for short. CRM is the process we use to determine if archaeological or historical properties (that’s sites more than 50 years old) are within a project’s “Area of Potential Effect”. (Yes, I know, another big governmental sounding term – but APE works for short). Bear with me, I’ll get through the dry stuff quickly !
The CRM process is required by the regulations set forth under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. This process is required when public lands or funds are involved in a project that will have potential ground disturbing consequences. Through the process, prehistoric and historic sites are: identified, documented, and evaluated for eligibility into the National Register of Historic Places.
Reports are issued to the federal or state agencies involved as well as the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO). Recommendations are given by the CRM specialist (that would be me) concerning whether or not there are potential negative effects to significant archaeological sites, and what actions can be taken to avoid those effects. The agencies involved then determine whether they agree with this assessment.
So why is the CRM process relevant to the Bakken?
Given the checkerboard nature of the state and federal lands sprinkled across eastern Montana and western North Dakota; public lands in the path of the Bakken exploration and production progression is going to happen. In order to access roads, power transmission lines, well pads, or pipelines to receive clearance for placement on public lands, the CRM process must completely run its course.
A modified process known as a Visual Impact Assessment (VIA) is also required for projects, such as cell towers, whose signals are under the purview of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). As the Bakken business grows, so shall the need for communications.
The Bakken is under the international spotlight, and now, more than ever, the need for professionalism and cooperation is needed to insure that the industry grows in a manner that complies with federal and state regulations. To accomplish this goal, the CRM professionals are vital now, and in the future of the Bakken oil play.
To learn more about CRM, Hope Archaeology, Inc., and Shane be sure to click the link to Shane’s Listing in the Synergy Station Directory.