Sunken shipwrecks in deep waters off the United States could be getting more protection.
The US Government is seeking public comments on a proposed rule that would require companies looking to drill for oil or natural gas in the Outer Continental Shelf to submit a more-detailed archaeological report on the area.
The Interior Department’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management “proposes to require lessees and operators to submit an archaeological report with any oil and gas exploration or development plan they submit to BOEM for approval of activities proposed on the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS),” according to a notice posted last week, which adds:
“An archaeological report is currently required only if the plan covers an area that a BOEM Regional Director has reason to believe may contain an archaeological resource. This 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). This 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.”
Comments on the proposed rule are due on or before April 17th, 2023, according to BOEM.
Check out the full notice here.