As the statewide non-profit organization supporting historic preservation in West Virginia, we have received many calls of concern about the rising natural gas wells, pipelines, and drilling and the disregard for family cemeteries during these projects. Until recently, the only advice that I could give to these folks is to contact the WV State Historic Preservation Office (WVSHPO) and complete a Cemetery Survey Form. http://www.wvculture.org/shpo/cemeteries.html Once the cemetery survey form is completed, at least the WVSHPO would have a record of the cemetery, and if a Section 106 review was necessary for a natural gas project, your cemetery would be considered in this project.
We are, hopefully, on our way to having greater protection for family cemeteries! On Monday, March 11, 2013, Delegates Manypenny, Marshall, Moore, Wells, Caputo, Longstreth and Fleischauer introduced HB 2893 – a bill that would require cultural surveys to be performed before any natural gas project, as well as prohibit natural gas pipelines, wells and associated facilities from being constructed within one hundred feet of a cemetery or grave site.
Preservation Alliance sees this as a huge step towards protection of our historic resources. Please take a moment with us to contact your state legislator, and show your support for HB 2893. Also, don’t forget to thank the sponsoring Delegates for their support of historic preservation and the protection of family cemeteries.