By MARY ESCH
SCHOHARIE (AP) - A federal law aimed at preventing looting of historic sites is keeping officials in upstate New York from finding out details about three spots along the route of a planned natural gas pipeline that contain prehistoric artifacts.
Constitution Pipeline LLC, which plans to build a 124-mile pipeline from Pennsylvania’s shale fields to northeastern markets, has filed documents with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission describing three sites on its route through the Schoharie Valley west of Albany that have archaeological value.
Previous digs at construction sites and scientific excavations nearby have produced a wealth of arrowheads, stone tools, pottery shards and campfire remnants dating back as much as 5,000 years.
Schoharie County officials want to know exactly where the sites are so they can weigh in on proposed protective measures. But their attempts to get the information from FERC were rebuffed because of federal regulations designed to protect sites from looting. The county’s planning department filed a Freedom of Information request, which was denied, and now they’re appealing that decision.