Drilling For Natural Gas and Other Archaeological News

Where have I heard this before?. Apparently a company in Utah wants to increase it’s drilling activity in Nine Mile Canyon from 100-110 active wells to approximately 700-800 active wells. According to PhysOrg.Com the impact could be dire:

As for the effect on the artwork, some warn it would be akin to driving a truck through the Louvre. Others expect the drilling to be fairly benign.
“I don’t think we really know what the damage might be being caused right now,” said Kevin Jones, Utah’s state archaeologist. “I think the resource is valuable enough that we ought to find out.”
In 2006, the Bill Barrett Corp. agreed to pay for a study of the possible effects of the dust. Constance Silver of Preservar Inc., which conducted the study, said she found that kicked-up dust that lands on a rock art panel creates “a very serious conservation problem.”
At one of the canyon’s most famous spots, a scene depicting a great hunt, dust clouds from passing trucks travel more than 100 feet and linger in the air for at least 10 minutes before settling on the rock carvings, she found.
Another issue raising concern: the use of magnesium chloride on the road to harden the dirt and keep dust down. The salt compound is already being applied in an agreement between the county and the company.
Magnesium chloride has damaged concrete buildings and works of art before, according to Silver’s report, and its use around Nine Mile Canyon ought to be “carefully considered.” The fear is that it will collect in the pores of the rock and eat away its surface.
This summer, two other kinds of dust suppressants will be tried on the road.

In the meantime, the EPA, in a surprising bit of sanity, faulted the Bureau of Land Management’s environmental impact study because it didn’t take impact on air quality into account:

The EPA said the draft environmental impact study’s finding that the project would have very little impact on the area’s ground-level ozone “is not technically defensible.”
Bill Barrett estimates the full-field development project would yield 1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas during more than 30 years of drilling. The yield is equivalent to about 17 days of supply at today’s national consumption level.

Of course, the company that wants to do the drilling is painting the situation somewhat differently (from the PhysOrg.Com article):

Company spokesman Jim Felton defended the project, saying if drilling does not go forward, the implications will be “immediate, dire and drastic” given the demand for energy in the U.S. The project would also create nearly 1,000 jobs in the area, according to the BLM.

So apparently, depriving the US of 17 days supply spread out over 30 years is “…immediate, dire, and drastic…”? Comes out to about a day’s supply every two years, yeah, we will really miss that, probably cause the collapse of civilization as we know it.
In happier news, the Archaeology Channel has an interesting video on Caral Supe.
If you wish to learn more about Caral Supe, you can go here Caral Supe Peru: The Oldest Civilization in the Americas

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