The inventory, evaluation and treatment of cultural resources represent a significant challenge for siting and permitting natural gas pipelines. Project sponsors assist the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s Office of Energy Projects with meeting its obligations under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. The increasing sophistication of compliance with Section 106 is reflected in the Office of Energy Project’s 2002 Guidelines for Reporting on Cultural Resources Investigations for Pipeline Projects. Recent pipeline projects in the United States have involved environmental study corridors that are both wide and extensive, a combination that results in the identification of large numbers of cultural properties. The process of cultural resources management begins in the project planning stage with the development of site location modeling, analysis of previous investigations within or near Areas of Potential Effect, and consideration of the likelihood for encountering potentially eligible National Register of Historic Places properties. Using this information, site detection survey strategies can be developed that intensively target only sensitive portions of the Area of Potential Effect. During the survey, identification of archaeological sites, historic structures, or cultural landscapes requires prompt evaluation of National Register eligibility status for the purposes of avoidance or development of treatment plans. This presentation considers the Section 106 compliance process and how project sponsors can effectively manage cultural resources to ensure cost effectiveness and maintenance of restricted project schedules, while meeting the objectives of the National Historic Preservation Act.

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