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Few protections for Nantucket Sound as historic place

When the National Park Service declared the 560-square-mile Nantucket Sound eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, all the federal protections of actually being on the list became effective. Yet, as it turns out, these protections have little bearing on existing commercial and recreational activities in Nantucket Sound.

When the National Park Service declared the 560-square-mile Nantucket Sound eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, all the federal protections of actually being on the list became effective.

Yet, as it turns out, these protections have little bearing on existing commercial and recreational activities in Nantucket Sound, regardless of the historic remains and artifacts of ancient Wampanoags resting in the earth beneath the Sound, and have more impact on projects and uses proposed in the future.

"The National Historic Preservation Act, in many people's eyes, doesn't provide great protections," said National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson. "What it does among other things is it requires folks who propose new commercial enterprises to consult with the tribes and go through Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. People just have different ideas of what's possible and what's not with that federal law."

With protection of their heritage and their worship practice of viewing the sunrise over the unobstructed Sound in mind, the Wampanoag tribes of Massachusetts successfully petitioned the... more [truncated due to possible copyright]  

When the National Park Service declared the 560-square-mile Nantucket Sound eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, all the federal protections of actually being on the list became effective.

Yet, as it turns out, these protections have little bearing on existing commercial and recreational activities in Nantucket Sound, regardless of the historic remains and artifacts of ancient Wampanoags resting in the earth beneath the Sound, and have more impact on projects and uses proposed in the future.

"The National Historic Preservation Act, in many people's eyes, doesn't provide great protections," said National Park Service spokesman Jeffrey Olson. "What it does among other things is it requires folks who propose new commercial enterprises to consult with the tribes and go through Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. People just have different ideas of what's possible and what's not with that federal law."

With protection of their heritage and their worship practice of viewing the sunrise over the unobstructed Sound in mind, the Wampanoag tribes of Massachusetts successfully petitioned the Massachusetts Historical Commission to secure Nantucket Sound's eligibility on this federal list. But a spot on the National Register of Historic Places might not be enough to keep Cape Wind Associates from planting 130 wind turbines where the Wampanoags would rather not see them. Although Cape Wind is required to go through the Section 106 process, many people believe Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar's record of decision, due shortly after March 1, will be in Cape Wind's favor. However, for those uses already permitted on Nantucket Sound including ferries, commercial and charter fishing, recreational boating, commercial barging services, boat rentals, sightseeing tours and many, many others, there are no new regulations to comply with to meet the Register's standards (see related story).

"It would not affect things like fishing, shipping, ferries and boating. It would affect new construction," said Brian McNiff, spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of State William F. Galvin. "It would have to go through the National Park Service and through Section 106 within what is considered to be in the bounds of the historic area."

Such projects certainly include wind turbine installations, tidal energy generators, dredging projects and any others involving marine construction within federal waters.

"It's not an absolute barrier to activities," said Sue Reid, staff attorney and Director of the Massachusetts Clean Energy & Climate Change Initiative for the Conservation Law Foundation. "You could put conditions on it. Maybe they could not operate during dawn hours when worship is going on. "The realm of what should be looked at is in terms of mitigation of the project at its present proposed location out in Nantucket Sound."

At a stakeholders meeting he organized in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 13, Secretary Salazar strongly urged the Wampanoags, the Alliance to Protect Nantucket Sound and Cape Wind to work out some sort of compromise that would allow Cape Wind to build its wind farm rather than having to move it elsewhere while appeasing the tribes. If they do not, he will make a decision on his own in early March. Cape Wind has said it would take core samples where each turbine is to be erected to determine if it needed to be relocated to avoid historic artifacts.

But checking for historic artifacts is already part of the process for new development in the sound anyway.

"Any federal undertaking requires [attention to] the National Preservation Act - Section 106 - and this business about a federal undertaking, we mean federally-funded projects or federallypermitted projects. This has to be tied to a federal agency."


Source: http://www.nantucketindepen...

JAN 27 2010
http://www.windaction.org/posts/24339-few-protections-for-nantucket-sound-as-historic-place
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