The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) is proposing to require archaeological report be submitted with any oil and gas exploration or development plan that lessees and operators submit for activities proposed on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS).

Currently, an archaeological report is required only if the plan covers an area that a BOEM Regional Director has reason to believe may contain an archaeological resource. The proposed rule would increase the likelihood that archaeological resources are located and identified before they are inadvertently damaged by an OCS operator, thereby assuring compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

According to BOEM, “The proposed rule would define the minimum level of survey information necessary to support the conclusions in the archaeological report, the procedure for reporting possible archaeological resources, the procedure for continuing operations when a possible resource is present, and what to do if an unanticipated archaeological resource is discovered during operation.”

BOEM is accepting comments on the proposed rule until April 27, 2023. The ACRA Government Relations Committee is reviewing the rule, and welcomes any input from ACRA members about the rule. Please send any feedback on the proposed rule to Executive Director Amanda Stratton no later than April 20, 2023.

If you wish to comment directly to BOEM, visit the Federal Register listing and click on the green “Submit a Formal Comment” button.