[meteorite-list] Fossils and Public Lands (10-23-01)

From: Starbits_at_aol.com <Starbits_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:47:10 2004
Message-ID: <c3.18e609ef.291eaf20_at_aol.com>

In a message dated 10-Nov-01 2:21:05 AM Pacific Standard Time,
capricorn89_at_earthlink.net writes:

<< <<The proposed legislation would expand the right of amateur collectors to
collect fossils on certain public lands and for the first time extend that
right to commercial collectors>>
 That part looks good. Seems that the issue is being given careful
consideration by the various interested groups. Yes? No? >>

Hello Ron

If you read the text of the bill you will see that the text you quoted above
is incorrect. If you want to collect on federal property you must have a
permit with the exception of a "casual collector". The casual collector can
only collect for non-commercial purposes; i.e. he can't sell it or charge
people to view what he finds. In addition if the item is a vertebrate or
some nonspecific rare plant or invertebrate then a permit is still needed.
If a permit is used to collect something then it belongs to the government,
period, no exceptions, no compensation mentioned or required.
     So if you find a beautiful fossil skeleton you are supposed to leave it
right there and go to a bureaucrat to file for a permit. After they decide
if you are qualified to recover it (a specific condition of issuance) they
will give you a permit and you can go to the expense of recovering it. At
which time they will say thank you very much it is ours now.
     Alternatively they could decide you are not capable and issue a permit
to a scientific institution instead and they, with nothing but time on their
hands and closets full of money, will immediately fly out the door to collect
     OR - the casual collector will just grab a hammer and chisel and bang it
out, take it home and put it on eBay. Unless he was caught in the act of
recovery or said it came from federal property nothing could be done.
     Without compensation for permitted recovery this bill is fatally flawed.
 It will not accomplish what it proposes to do which is save as much
scientific/educational material as possible.
     One other statement in the bill is that fossils are a nonrenewable
resource. That is a significant difference from meteorites which are falling
all the time.

Eric Olson
Received on Sat 10 Nov 2001 11:26:08 AM PST

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