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Landmark Agreement Protects Artifact-Rich Utah Canyon
This Dec. 12, 2008 picture shows ancient American Indian rock art next to a road at Nine Mile Canyon in Utah. The artifacts are being affected by the increased traffic from the service vehicles supporting the oil and natural gas claims within the canyon. The dust thrown up from these large trucks is dusting the rock art panels and is believed to be damaging the surface. An unusual agreement to protect the canyon decorated by the images is expected to allow energy development to move forward. The pact is scheduled to be signed Jan. 5, 2010 by federal and state agencies, conservation and archaeology groups, tribal leaders and a Denver-based natural gas producer. AP Photo/The Salt Lake Tribune, Al Hartmann.

By: Paul Foy, Associated Press Writer

SALT LAKE CITY, UT (AP).- An agreement to protect a Utah canyon decorated by ancient American Indian art is expected to allow energy development in the area to move forward.

The pact is scheduled to be signed Jan. 5 by federal and state agencies, conservation and archaeology groups, tribal leaders and Denver-based gas driller Bill Barrett Corp.

It calls for road work to cut down on abrasive dust that can erode the rock art panels of Nine Mile Canyon.

The canyon — actually 78 miles long — has been called the world's longest art gallery, with thousands of prehistoric drawings.

Bill Barrett Corp. is awaiting federal environmental approval to add 800 gas wells on high plateaus accessible only from Nine Mile Canyon. The company says it's happy for the agreement after years of dispute.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.

Nine Mile Canyon | American Indian art | Bill Barrett Corp | Utah |

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