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VT Archeology: Bitin' the Dust?

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New rules allowing all-terrain vehicles on some state lands aren't the only ones the Douglas administration has in the works that are raising eyebrows.

Vermont's Division of Historic Preservation will soon launch a series of public meetings around the state to gather input on changes to rules governing the treatment of potential archaeological sites when a development is reviewed under Act 250, the state's land use law.

The first hearing is Tuesday night in Williston from 5-6:30 p.m. in the police station's community room. Additional hearings will be held this month in Rutland (June 25) and St. Johnsbury (June 30), and next month in Rockingham (July 14).

Some critics of the changes fear the Douglas administration is throwing a bone to the development community, a group that has provided Douglas with thousands of dollars in campaign cash over the years. In addition, two of Douglas' top officials — Commerce Secretary Kevin Dorn and Deputy Commissioner for Housing Tayt Brooks — once worked for the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Northern Vermont.

One archaeological expert said the changes could dramatically alter how archaeology is conducted in Vermont, potentially leaving hundreds of sites, and thousands of years of history, buried forever.

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