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Contributed date

May 17, 2020 - 8:48pm

Critical Commentary

This policy document lays out practices for the preservation of cultural resources and artifacts. It was approved and certified by the United States Department of Energy (DOE) to support national legislation to preserve and protect historical and archeological sites related to Native Americans/indigenous tribes and other cultural and historically marginalized groups throughout the country. There are laws and acts mentioned at the beginning of the policy document that establish protections and protected groups which give this policy by the DOE the powers of authority to attribute rights to these cultural sites/groups. The policy is rooted in the preservation of these sites to preserve cultural artifacts from energy development, specifically from DOE contractors with the intention of utilizing land and resources to generate power and dispose of energy byproducts. Problems addressed by the policy are that through its development it becomes apparent that these groups/sites have previously been victims of injustices related to preserving respected sites due to these developments in energy infrastructure. The goal of this policy is to maintain human rights for historical and cultural minority groups that have historically been disregarded when establishing energy resource extraction, transportation, and disposal practices. The intended outcomes relate to the establishment of respect and maintaining integrity for these cultural groups and sites. It in an interesting document because it was created years before the Dakota Access Pipeline protests in which tribal members opposed the Keystone XL pipeline because of its violation and disregard of essential resources for tribal communities, such as water for crops and human consumption. The pipeline was eventually built to deliver oil to areas of commerce. The policy document presented here is signed by the Secretary of Energy, Spencer Abraham, certified in 2011, and intending to serve to protect these types of violations. Stakeholders such as indigenous cultural groups/communities integrity is intended to be bolstered by this policy through deliberative democratic processes like community meetings to manage concerns and allow their voices be heard on topics related to energy decisions. DOE and contractors that work under their supervision seem to effectively ignored these procedures considering the aforementioned protest’s failure. This policy ties into energy vulnerabilities through its connection to energy justice. Energy consumption constituents have a requirement to uphold justice for marginalized and vulnerable groups globally. The need for energy development in infrastructure through generation/production/transportation/disposal sites should not violate the human rights and viability of entire communities. This justice vulnerability is directly related to energy development and is related to rights, because it is violating community stakeholders livelihood. This artifact exemplifies that the production of energy can create injustices and rights violations, by which through a succesion of the logic of transitive property establishes energy vulnerabilities to impact energy justice. I would argue that these impacts have a direct relation to the integrity of justice through an energy framework, whereby we should consider 'energy justice' whenever discussing 'energy vulnerabilities.'





Group Audience

  • - Private group -

Cite as

U.S. Department of Energy, "DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY MANAGEMENT OF CULTURAL RESOURCES Policy Document", contributed by James Gall, The Energy Rights Project, Platform for Experimental Collaborative Ethnography, last modified 17 May 2020, accessed 10 December 2023.