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History Code Policy, Procedures and Forms

[26 Pa.B. 3160]

   Act 70 of 1995 amended the History Code. In response, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) revised its technical guidance. The revised document was reviewed by the DEP staff, the Historical and Museum Commission (HMC) and the public. DEP is now distributing the final version of this technical guidance document (DER ID: 012-0700-001--Implementation of the History Code: Policy and Procedures for Applicants for DEP Permits and Plan Approvals). The document includes an updated List of Exemptions, the Cultural Resource Notice form, instructions and checklist and a flow chart of the time frames for HMC's review.

   Many applicants for DEP permits will be conducting activities which involve earth disturbance and could damage important archaeological resources at the site of their planned activity. DEP requires its permit and plan approval applicants to notify HMC of their planned activity.

   The changes to the History Code represent an improvement for most permit applicants. HMC may require surveys, but only where the site is significant (not for high probability areas or known sites for which the significance is not known). In most cases, HMC pays for the surveys. (However, there are four exceptions when HMC does not pay for the surveys. These are: projects of State agencies and instrumentalities, projects on State land, projects of publicly regulated utilities and surveys and investigations required under Federal law.) HMC has a strict time frame for making determinations and conducting its surveys and field investigations.

   Finally, clear limits are given to the authority of HMC, DEP and the applicant. HMC cannot delay, deny, condition or limit permits which would otherwise be issued by a State agency. HMC must get the consent of the property owner to conduct its survey. DEP cannot stop processing a permit or deny a permit solely because of the possible or actual presence of archaeological resources. The applicant cannot utilize a permit in any manner that would impair or interfere with the performance of an archaeological survey or field investigation.

   To order a copy of the document, please call Elwyn, Inc. at (800) 804-4020 when calling within Pennsylvania or (610) 891-2183 when calling outside Pennsylvania. The Policy and Procedures portion of the document (but not the forms) will be placed on DEP's World Wide Web site (http://www.dep.state.pa.us) at the Public Participation Center, Final Published Documents.

   Persons who have any questions should contact Nina Huizinga at (717) 783-8727.

JAMES M. SEIF,   
Secretary

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 96-1094. Filed for public inspection July 5, 1996, 9:00 a.m.]



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