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

State Activities

Better Protecting Human Burial Places in Ohio. Most members are aware that the OAC has met with OHC/SHPO to discuss 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 effort is a direct result of the unauthorized excavation at the Trace Rockshelter in Jackson County a few years ago, but has been a concern for decades. 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, OHC/SHPO staff, and State Rep. Scherer. At Rep. Scherer’s request, a meeting with State Rep. Seitz is being scheduled, possibly in May. It will help determine whether we should proceed with the current comprehensive effort or scale back to simply addressing revising penalties under existing law. Either way, we would then engage other interest groups.

HB 168. Introduced March 29, 2017, it would modify duties of the Div. of Real Estate, Dept. of Commerce regarding cemeteries under their jurisdiction, including registration, maintenance, and establish a grant program. The bill is a result of the Cemetery Law Task Force’s 2014 recommendations. OAC provided comments to SHPO on the bill.

Dept. of Administrative Services (DAS) sale of state land. In bills introduced last fall, the state of Ohio proposed selling certain prison farmlands containing important archaeological resources. The OAC intervened in the House after the Senate bill passed within a few weeks of being introduced. With the cooperation of SHPO we were able to halt, for now, the sale. In the bill the Ohio Dept. of Rehab and Corrections and DAS proposed selling land containing the western portion of Shriver Circle and much of Kramer Mound and Village in Ross County. We continue to consult with SHPO about this matter.

Protecting Underground Utilities. The Underground Technical Committee has ruled on 26 of about 35 complaints filed. Most complaints are by contractors/excavators against utilities. No fines have been levied. 60% of complaints involve utilities’ failure to mark utility locations or give notice of no conflicts.

The Ohio Utilities Damage Prevention Coalition is likely to meet later this year to discuss possible revisions of the law. Possible revisions include waiting 72 instead of 48 hours to give utility locators more time to mark, removal of exemptions, clarifying the large complex projects process, and ticket life.       

Statehood Day 2017. Occurred March 1. Expressed concern for maintaining OHC/SHPO funding in the biennial budget. State revenues continue to lag predictions. Last year’s ask, initiated by the OAC, for a House/Senate concurrent resolution supporting the U.S. Government’s nomination of the Hopewell Ceremonial Earthworks nomination to the World Heritage List, was successful.

Rover Pipeline Settlement with SHPO. Rover, back by Energy Transfer Partners, the same firm behind the Dakota Access Pipeline, intentionally demolished a farmstead that was eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places before completing the Section 106 process. Rover agreed to a $2.3 million fine, the $ for which will be used by the Ohio History Connection/SHPO for historic preservation projects throughout Ohio.

Federal Activities

BLM leases in Wayne National Forest (WNF). The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) sold more than 1000 acres of oil and gas leases on the Marietta Unit of the WNF. At this time there is no federal undertaking. Cultural resources surveys would be done when the lessee proposes actions affecting the land. BLM would oversee cultural resource surveys, assisted by WNF. The same could happen in Cuyahoga Valley National Park where the National Park Service only owns about one-third of the mineral rights.

WNF PA. We submitted comments to WNF on their draft programmatic agreement for complying with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

STOP Act (Safeguard Tribal Objects of Patrimony) of 2016. From the 114th Congress. Not reintroduced into the 115th. Increases prison time from 5 to 10 years for persons convicted a second time of illegally trafficking American Indian human remains. Also bans export of illegally obtained American Indian cultural objects.

Ongoing Section 106 Consultations

  • Stuart Station data recovery and human remains, Adams County.

  • Judge Barker House, Washington County.

  • Camp Sherman, Ross County.

  • Meigs Mine 31 pipeline, where prehistoric human remains were discovered at 33GA387.

  • 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.

  • Buckeye Lake Dam improvements, Licking County.

  • Data recovery at 33HY107 for the Maumee River Crossing Bridge.

  • Data recovery at 33FR560, 33FR1303, and 33FR2349 at the Columbus Southerly Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Society for American Archaeology (SAA) Government Affairs Network State Representative (GANSR). The SAA has revised its GANSR program. This network will serve as SAA's "eyes and ears on the ground" and will be invaluable to sending timely alerts to a state's SAA members. I was previously Ohio’s GANSR and was re-designated so by SAA. Please bring any state or local archaeology concerns to my attention.

President Trump and Congressional Efforts to “Drain the Swamp.” Efforts to cut regulations affecting CRM archaeology such as the Reins Act, now law, which requires that every year for the next 10 years each agency is to present 10% of their current regulations to Congress for review and approval. There are many other efforts to “rein in” the “administrative state” and “government overreach”, including requiring Congressional and state approval for creation of national monuments under the Antiquities Act of 1906. On April 26, the President signed an Executive Order directing the Sec. of the Interior to review the last 20 years of Presidential monument designations that included more than 100,000 acres of federal land.

The President’s budget proposal eliminates many federal programs for infrastructure that require Section 106 compliance, e.g., Dept. of Commerce’s Economic Development Agency, USDA water and wastewater grants, Dept. of Housing and Urban Development’s Community Development Block Grants, Interior’s Abandoned Mine Land Grants, Transportation’s TIGER grants, EPA’s geographic watersheds programs, including the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, and eliminates the Appalachian Regional Commission, Institute of Museum and Library Services, National Endowments for Arts and Humanities, and National Heritage Areas program.