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Drilling project threatens tribal rock art in Utah

A Bureau of Land Management archaeologist who recommended stringent protections for tribal rock art dating back 1,700 years has been barred from reviewing drilling projects in the Nine Mile Canyon of Utah.

Blaine Miller was removed for an alleged conflict of interest. He and his wife sit on a foundation to protect the Canyon.

But critics say Miller was removed because he stood in the way of the Bill Barrett Corporation, an oil and gas company eyeing the canyon for development. BLM gave approval for Barrett to drill more than 5,000 holes in the canyon and conduct a seismic survey for gas. The company says its tests will not disturb the rock art, some of which was created by ancestors of the Ute Tribe of Utah.

Nine Mile Canyon is on the National Trust for Historic Preservation's list of most endangered places.

Get the Story:
When the Bush Energy Policy Confronts Ancient Art (The New York Times 6/13)

2004 Most Endangered Places:
Nine Mile Canyon | Full List