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1 May 2004
Lawsuit to protect Nine Mile Canyon rock art

Four environmental groups (the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance [SUWA], the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Wilderness Society and the Sierra Club) and one archaeological association (Utah Rock Art Research Association) filed a lawsuit Monday challenging a gas exploration project near Nine Mile Canyon in eastern Utah (USA). The plaintiffs say the U.S. Bureau of Land Management (BLM), which approved the so-called "Stone Cabin 3D Project" last month, failed to fully analyze the impacts of the exploration.  As a result, the project, proposed by the Colorado-based Bill Barrett Corp., will "damage centuries old rock art and other standing structures such as cliff dwellings and pit houses erected by ancient cultures," according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.
     BLM spokesman Don Banks on Monday called the Stone Cabin decision a "balanced" one that will allow for energy exploration and protection of other resources. "Every reasonable measure has been taken to ensure that archaeological resources will not be harmed . . . and wilderness suitability will not be impaired," Banks said.
     The Stone Cabin project, which Bill Barrett Corp. had hoped to begin in mid-May, would occur on a 57,500-acre swath of land on the Tavaputs Plateau, 30 miles northeast of Price. Encompassing canyons and ridges just south of Nine Mile Canyon, the area is noted for its high concentration of rock art and structures that date from thousands of years ago to a few hundred years ago.  

Source: The Salt Lake Tribune (27 April 2004)

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