Al Tonetti, chair (members Bill Kennedy, Jeff Reichwein, Lauren Sieg)

Protecting Underground Utilities

Enforcement of Ohio’s call before you dig law began January 1, 2016. The registration fee for non-residential callers is a flat $25 this year. It may be reduced or eliminated next year. Approximately 24 complaints of potential violations have been reviewed by Public Utilities Commission of Ohio and its Underground Technical Committee. Few have been against excavators; mostly against utilities and locators. Possible law revisions include waiting 72 instead of 48 hours to give locators more time (they are swamped since enforcement began), removal of exemptions, clarifying the large complex projects process, and ticket life. The Ohio Utilities Damage Prevention Coalition is likely to meet early next year to discuss possible revisions. Al Tonetti will attend on the OAC’s behalf. Al invited a representative from the Ohio Utilities Protection Service to give refresher presentation on Ohio’s one-call process at the fall 2017 OAC membership meeting.

Statehood Day 2017

Planning for Statehood Day, Wednesday, March 1, 2017, has begun. Last year Al Tonetti, on behalf of the OAC, suggested that Statehood Day partners pursue a concurrent resolution supporting the U.S. Government’s nomination of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks nomination to the World Heritage List. This was done. In May, the House approved the resolution. It now needs approved by the Senate by end of year (end of Ohio’s two year legislative cycle). An effort to better protect human burial places in Ohio may be on this years’ legislative priorities (see below).

Section 106 Consultations

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Huntington District: Continuing consultation on Consol Energy’s Meigs Mine 31 pipeline, where prehistoric human remains were discovered at 33GA387.

Also in the Huntington District, the Rolling Hills Generating Station project. The OAC was asked to consult regarding resolving adverse effects to site 33MS609, a stratified, primarily Late Archaic-Early Woodland site on the Ohio River floodplain. We agreed to do so.

Buckeye Lake Dam: additional information received. USACE Huntington District is the lead agency.

The OAC became a consulting party on the proposed data recovery at 33HY107 for the Maumee River Crossing Bridge. A conference call with consulting parties recently occurred. USACE Buffalo District is the lead agency.

The OAC is also a consulting party on data recovery at 33FR560, 33FR1303, and 33FR2349 at the Columbus Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Ohio EPA is the lead agency.

The state of Ohio is selling farm prison properties. One is in Chillicothe and may affect the Shriver Circle (prehistoric earthwork). We are consulting with SHPO, Hopewell Culture National Park, and others about this matter.

The Federal Bureau of Land Management is proposing selling oil and gas leases on thousands of acres in the Marietta Unit of the Wayne National Forest. There is no federal undertaking yet but we are monitoring the situation.

Better Protecting Human Burial Places in Ohio

Most members are aware that the OAC has been meeting with OHC/SHPO discussing ways to better protect certain human burial places, i.e., those not under the jurisdiction of the Dept. of Commerce, Div. of Real Estate. This is a direct result of discussions many of us have had around the looting of the trace Rockshelter in Jackson County a few years ago. Ohio is often mentioned as having the least effective laws governing the identification and protection of human burial places in the nation.

This is a very complex matter that to this point has been limited to discussion between certain members of the OAC’s Board and OHC/SHPO staff, but we are close to sharing the general concept of our proposal with other agencies and organizations. Once we have a final draft of the general concept, probably by end of year, it will be brought to interested state legislators and interest groups for further discussion.

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