The National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Forum Journal for the Summer 2008 highlights how the federal government’s energy policy is threatening cave drawings (5000 BC) in the Nine Mile Canyon in Utah. Since the Energy Policy Act of 2005 opened up federal lands for energy development 120 natural gas wells have been drilled above the Nine Mile Canyon with 50 more planned. This has caused multiple problems with dust covering the drawings from the many vehicles traveling the dirt roads to the natural gas wells. In addition the additional traffic is endangering the thousands of artifacts (from stone beads to pottery pieces to stone tools). In 2004 (before the Energy Policy Act of 2005) the National Trust named Nine Mile Canyon to the list of 11 Most Endangered Historic Places.
We all want to work for energy independence deciding which route to take is the largest dilemma in solving this problem. A question we need to ask ourselves is the amount of natural gas being collected from these wells worth the potential damage to the irreplaceable cave drawings?
More information about the Nine Mile Canyon can be found on the National Trust website at: http://www.preservationnation.org/take-action/advocacy-center/action-alerts/nine-mile-canyon-at-risk.html.