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TEEIC Laws & Regulations Section Guide

Laws and Regulations: Cultural & Paleontological Resources

Federal statutes (laws), Executive Orders, and regulations concerned with cultural and paleontological resources.

Follow the links below to learn about Federal statutes (laws), Executive Orders, and regulations that may apply to specific activities associated with energy development that may impact cultural and paleontological resources.

Legislation passed by Congress intended to protect and preserve the traditional religious rights of American Indians, Eskimos, Aleuts, and Native Hawaiians. The Act (42 USC 1996) requires federal agencies to consider the effects of their programs on places and practices of religious importance to American Indians, Eskimos, and Native Hawaiians. Although the Act resulted in some governmental policy changes, no regulations were ever issued. The AIRFA was amended (42 USC 1996a) to allow the use of peyote for ceremonial purposes.

The first piece of U.S. legislation providing protection for any kind of cultural or natural resource. The Act (16 USC 431-433) established the first national historic preservation policy and gave the President the authority to set aside historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest located on federally controlled lands as "national monuments" to be managed properly by federal agencies. The regulations assign responsibility over lands to different federal agencies: the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has responsibility for lands within forest reserves, the U.S. Army has responsibility over lands within military reservations, and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has responsibility over all other lands owned or controlled by the federal government. The full suite of regulations promulgated by the DOI is available at 43 CFR 3.

Legislation that amended the Reservoir Salvage Act of 1960 requiring federal agencies to provide for the preservation of historical and archeological data which might otherwise be lost or destroyed as the result of any federally licensed activity or program causing an alteration of terrain. This Act (16 USC 469-469c-2) greatly expanded the number of federal agencies that had to take archeological resources into account when executing, funding, or licensing projects; previously the Reservoir Salvage Act had required such attention only of federal agencies that constructed reservoirs and related structures (e.g., U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation). The full suite of regulations promulgated by the National Park Service (NPS) under the AHPA is available at 36 CFR 79.

Legislation establishing requirements to protect archaeological resources and sites on public lands and Indian lands and to foster increased cooperation and exchange of information between governmental authorities, the professional archaeological community, and private individuals. The Act (16 USC 470aa-470mm) established civil and criminal penalties for the destruction or alteration of cultural resources. The U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI) has issued regulations under the ARPA, available at 43 CFR 7, establishing definitions, standards, and procedures to be followed by all federal land managers in providing protection for archaeological resources located on public lands and Indian lands of the United States. In addition, the National Park Service (NPS) has issued regulations under the ARPA for the curation of federally owned and administered collections; these regulations are available at 36 CFR 79.

Executive Order 11593 was issued by President Nixon on May 13, 1971, directing federal agencies to inventory their cultural resources and establish policies and procedures to ensure the protection, restoration, and maintenance of federally owned sites, structures, and objects of historical, architectural, or archaeological significance.

Executive Order 13007 was issued by President Clinton on May 24, 1996, directing federal agencies, to the extent practicable and allowed by law, to allow Native Americans to worship at sacred sites located on federal property and to avoid adversely affecting the physical integrity of such sites.

Executive Order 13175 was issued by President Clinton on November 6, 2000, directing federal agencies to coordinate and consult with Indian tribal governments whose interests might be directly and substantially affected by activities on federally administered lands.

Executive Order 13287 was issued by President G.W. Bush on March 3, 2003, directing federal agencies to actively advance the protection, enhancement, and contemporary use of the historic properties owned by the federal government. It also encouraged agencies to establish partnerships with state, tribal, and local governments and the private sector to use these resources for economic development (e.g., tourism) and other public benefits.

Legislation building upon the earlier Antiquities Act to organize most of the national parks, monuments, and historic sites under the responsibility of the National Park Service (NPS). The Act (16 USC 461-467) declared a national policy of preserving historic sites, buildings, and objects of national significance for public use. Provisions of the Act are implemented through the NPS regulations available at 36 CFR 1-65.

Legislation (18 USC 1170) making it illegal to sell, purchase, or possess or transport for sale Native American human remains and cultural items. Although no regulations have been promulgated under this legislation, employees at energy development projects where Native American remains and artifacts are present need to be educated regarding this criminal statute.

Legislation creating the framework within which historic resources are managed in the United States by establishing requirements to ensure responsible stewardship of prehistoric and historic resources for future generations. The Act (16 USC 470) established the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), the National Register of Historic Places, the list of National Historic Landmarks, and state and tribal historic preservation offices. Section 106 of the Act requires that all federal agencies take into account the effects of their actions on historic properties and provide the ACHP with an opportunity to comment on those actions. The full suite of regulations promulgated by the Advisory Council under the NHPA is available at 36 CFR 800-812.

Legislation (25 USC 3001-3013) requiring federal agencies to consult with the appropriate Native American Tribes prior to the intentional excavation of human remains and funerary objects. The regulations establish a process for determining the rights of lineal descendants and Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations to certain Native American human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, or objects of cultural patrimony with which they are affiliated. The full suite of regulations promulgated by the National Park Service (NPS) under NAGPRA is available at 43 CFR 10.

Legislation establishing requirements that the Secretary of the Interior manage and protect paleontological resources on federal lands using scientific principals and expertise. This Act specifically requires the Secretary to develop plans for the inventory, monitoring, and scientific and educational use of paleontological resources; addresses the collection and curation of resources; identifies prohibited acts, and establishes criminal and civil penalties. This Act is contained in Public Law 111-11, Title VI, Subtitle D , which was enacted in March 2009; at this time no agencies have promulgated regulations this legislation.

Legislation (18 USC 1361) making it illegal to steal or damage any property of the federal government and establishes provisions for fines and imprisonment. Although no regulations have been promulgated under this legislation, employees at energy development projects where cultural and paleontological resources are present need to be educated regarding this criminal statute.