OAC Government Affairs Committee Report to Members, May 18, 2018
Al Tonetti, Chair
Jeff Reichwein, Lauren Sieg, Mike Striker, Committee Members
Call Before You Dig: After a three-year hiatus, the Ohio Utility Damage Prevention Coalition (OUDPC) has reconvened to revise Ohio’s law. On April 10, Tonetti attended a kickoff luncheon where revisions to the following items in the current law, all of concern to archaeologists, were identified for future discussion:
• (Re)defining the size, scope, and life of dig tickets, especially large project dig tickets
• Increasing the 48-hour waiting period to 72 hours
• Requiring excavator training
• Requiring positive response checks prior to the 48-hour waiting period deadline
• Enforcing utility and excavation marking and schedules.
Regarding the latter, the possible enforcement of marking/white-lining the approximate location of excavations within excavation sites prior to calling in dig tickets is a concern because the approximate location of our excavations is often not known prior to commencing excavation, especially on large CRM projects. Tonetti will address this matter in future OUDPC meetings.
Human burial places: Under the auspices of State Representative Gary Scherer (R), Circleville, the Legislative Service Commission (LSC) is putting the draft bill language prepared by the working group comprised of staff from OHC and its SHPO, OAC board members, and a lobbyist, into bill format. It should be ready by the end of this month. The Seneca Nation of Indians hired a lobbyist to work with us on getting the legislation enacted.
On October 2, 2017 the President of the Archaeological Society of Ohio, Jim Hovan, previously a member of the working group, sent a letter stating: “careful review of the language in the ‘human burial places’ draft, coupled with the complete and total lack of support from our membership, leads me to withdraw from any support for your project”. Tonetti had a conversation with Hovan about their concerns. It appears they primarily pertain to the possible reduction in private property value once land is designated a human burial place by SHPO.
Last fall, Tonetti made a presentation on this effort to the OHC’s tribal nations conference, and this spring to SHPO’s Governor-appointed Ohio Historic Site Preservation Advisory Board. It was generally well received by both groups. Helpful written comments were received from the Delaware Tribe of Indians and the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi.
The effort was also presented as one of the legislative priorities at OHC’s Statehood Day event on February 28, 2018. We received at least one very positive response from a state legislator.
The working group also had an excellent conference call with the Wisconsin SHPO concerning the many questions we have on all aspects of their law, which was originally enacted in 1986 and just underwent a significant revision. Of note, the revision to the Wisconsin law was initiated by an opponent of the certain aspects of the law, who became chairperson of the revision task force. At the end of the process the opponent became a proponent and the law was strengthened.
The next step is to review the draft bill when it’s received from LSC, discuss it with Rep. Scherer, make revisions, and develop a strategy for consulting with other stakeholders, finding sponsors, etc. The results of this fall’s Gubernatorial and General Assembly elections will affect how we proceed.
Somewhat related, this fall the US Supreme Court will hear a case involving abandoned cemetery preservation on private property in Pennsylvania. The case is Knick v. Scott Township, and involves whether allowing public access to cemeteries is a taking under the Fourth Amendment.
SHPO request for list of Ohio archaeology organizations: SHPO asked for a list and contact information of Ohio archaeology organizations they should consult during Section 106 projects. Tonetti prepared the list with the assistance of the Board and OAC member Jeb Bowen.
Trump executive order (EO) on the Antiquities Act: Tonetti participated in a media event sponsored by the Ohio Environmental Council to counter the impact of Trump’s EO. The focus of his remarks was on the history of Presidential national monument designations in Ohio, primarily Mound City Group, and the impact the EO will have on archaeological resources in national monuments proposed for reduction in size elsewhere.
Historic Preservation Fund: The FY 2018 omnibus spending bill funding the federal government through September was passed by Congress and signed by the President. It includes $97 million for the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), distributed as follows:
$48,925,000 grants to states – a $1 million increase
$11,485,000 grants to tribes – a $1 million increase
$13,000,000 for Save America’s Treasures – an $8 million increase
$13,000,000 for competitive grants to preserve sites from the Civil Rights Movement
$5,000,000 for grants Historically Black Colleges and Universities – a $1 million increase
$5,000,000 for competitive grants to revitalize historic properties of national, state, and local significance
$500,000 for competitive grants to survey and nominate places associated with under-represented communities to the National Register and as National Historic landmarks
$10,000,000 for American Battlefield Protection Program grants
$23,000,000 for Centennial Challenge projects to help parks across the country improve visitor services and support outreach to new audiences.
Recently, the House Appropriations Interior Subcommittee approved the FY 2019 draft funding legislation for the Department of Interior and related agencies. Preliminary numbers for the HPF:
SHPO and THPO offices: $60.4 million
SAT grants: $13,000,000
Civil Rights grants: $13,000,000
HBCUs: $5 million
Underrepresented Communities grants: $500,000
Subcommittee draft bill: $91,910,000
Section 106 consultation updates:
• Judge Barker House (USACE project, Washington County, archaeology at NRHP-listed building) Ongoing consultation through meetings, conference calls, and emails on conducting archaeological investigations and drafting a memorandum of agreement/MOA concerning the proposed demolition or relocation of the building. The OAC is a concurring party.
• Buckeye Lake (USACE project, Fairfield and Licking counties, historical/shipwreck archaeology). The OAC is a concurring party to the MOA, which includes a stipulation that the consultant make a presentation to the Ohio Archaeological Council. The presentation was made at the May 18, 2018 membership meeting.
• Maumee River Bridge (USACE/ODOT project, Henry County, prehistoric archaeology). The MOA has been executed. Data recovery is underway at site 33HY167 (Late Archaic and Middle Woodland through Late Prehistoric site). The Miami Tribe is an invited signatory; the OAC and Eastern Shawnee Tribe are concurring parties. The MOA includes preparation of an article for unspecified peer-review journal. The OAC will request an article be submitted for our Journal of Ohio Archaeology.
• Stuart Station MOA amendments (USACE project, Adams County, prehistoric archaeology on multiple sites with human burials). Amendments to the original MOA were executed. The OAC is a concurring party. The Absentee Shawnee, Delaware, Eastern Shawnee, Keeweenaw Bay Indian Community, Miami, Pokagon Band Potawatomi, Seneca, and Shawnee tribes are invited signatories. The amended MOA included “cultural competency training” for the USACE and consulting parties. Tonetti and Trustee John Schweikart attended the one-day training hosted by the USACE Huntington District, presented by several Federally recognized tribes with historical connections to the Ohio River valley.
• Outville Road (USACE project, Licking County, NRHP eligible Woodland period prehistoric sites 33LI2208 and 33LI2214). The OAC is a concurring party in the MOA to avoid impacts on the two sites and separate from development by installation permanent fencing and earthen embankments.
• Columbus Southerly Wastewater Facility (USEPA project, Franklin County, prehistoric archaeology data recovery at three Woodland period sites/components) The OAC is a concurring party to the MOA. The results of data recovery were presented at the May 18, 2018 membership meeting.