January 01, 2020

When Historic Resources and Hazardous Substances Collide

Christopher C. Stoneback and Pamela C. Garman

Historic and cultural resource preservation and environmental remediation each possess important and intrinsic value. When these values clash at a site possessing both historic resources and hazardous substances, thorny questions arise: What happens when environmentally hazardous substances requiring cleanup are located in an area possessing significant historic and cultural resources requiring preservation? What happens when the very act of environmental remediation, or even the environmental investigation itself, has the potential to destroy resources of historic or cultural significance? What is the legal construct under which these conflicting values are mediated, and who decides which value predominates?

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