Officials from Utah and the Kern River Pipeline Co. have reached an agreement to protect archaeological sites located in the way of an interstate pipeline, the governor's office has announced.

The agreement allows for the continuation of archaeological work within the pipeline corridor and involves the "voluntary donation" of $30,000 by Kern River to be used for state archaeological work.The understanding stemmed from complaints by state archaeologists and environmentalists over the disturbance of three ancient Indian sites by a Kern River contractor.

State officials threatened to halt work on the 900-mile, Wyoming-to-California natural gas pipeline unless efforts were made to protect significant sites.

"The contribution will provide substantial additional funding to identify archaeological sites and to develop or protect sites on state lands that have been identified as having archaeological and education value," according to a governor's news release.

The agreement allows for additional state monitoring of construction activities on state land to "reduce the risk of accident or inadvertent damage to cultural sites," the release said.

Accordingly, Kern River has opened discussions with an independent archaeologist to monitor the work.