[meteorite-list] BLM and Meteorite Recovery Policy

From: Martin Altmann <altmann_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Mon, 3 Dec 2012 17:08:21 +0100
Message-ID: <002501cdd170$6aec0f10$40c42d30$_at_de>

But Jason,

can't you see the comedy, the incredible funniness?

>and understand that the only way they'll be able to regulate the increasing
>commercialization of meteorites found on public land

That's the point!
Nobody of human reason, working in administration or elsewhere, would ever
get the idea,
that something so far-fetched and so exotic, that the vast majority of
people has no clue, that that at all exists,
would need a legal regulation.

It's an exceptional fun!
Much better than e.g. here in EU, where communities in the plains with no
hill higher than 20 feet have to implement extensive regulations for the
erection and operation of teleferics and ski-lifts.

Cause these meteorite laws are selfmade and homegrown,
And often, hihihi, in countries, which have only one single meteorite or not
more than 5 in 1000 years!

It seems, that those clerks involved in inventing such laws are either
or maybe somewhat under-worked.

And if, where the urge is definitely higher,
they would introduce - of course in the same honorable intention - the duty
by law, that we have to wear from now on outside helmets with arrester,
I guess in public and media they would be ridiculed.

Nevertheless in Germany it happens roughly 150 times more often, that a
person is killed by lightning stroke, than a meteorite is found.
(And in many countries with existing meteorite laws, the ratio is similar).

That's the beef, when we are talking about meteorites and laws,
Don't forget that!

And normally, any meteorite law would be similarly seriously discussed, like
the "meteorite bill" in England's House of Lords once.

Bruharhar, you remember Thuathe? Lesotho has also a meteorite law!
No worries, hunting, owning, collecting, exporting that all is allowed and
needs no permits,


....ihihih.... if you bend over to pick up a meteorite,
You need before a written testimony of an environmental compatibility

So, I assume, in most countries with meteorite laws,
the officers will react indignantly, if you molest them with your
meteoritical concerns
and they will tell you: get out of my office with your piffling stones,
we have more important things to care for!!

Greetings from Kafka.

-----Urspr?ngliche Nachricht-----
Von: meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com
[mailto:meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com] Im Auftrag von jason
Gesendet: Montag, 3. Dezember 2012 16:07
An: Meteorite-list
Betreff: Re: [meteorite-list] BLM and Meteorite Recovery Policy

Adam...with all due respect...

You can't substantiate a single thing you say, but insist that I'm the
gullible one. I just told you how a system like that might operate based
off of logic and the structure of bureaucracies like the ones I have to work
with/against every day here at a huge public school.

This isn't rubbish someone told me. It's the nature of the beast when
misguided attempts at efficiency are often the name of the game.
Sinister motives almost never come into play. Such decisions are often the
work of people who have worked within the bureaucracy for twenty years,
barely know how to use their computer, and understand that the only way
they'll be able to regulate the increasing commercialization of meteorites
found on public land isn't by proposing what might be seen as a 'radical'
new law, but rather by amending an existing one.

And unless you can offer some theory as to why or how a politician might
benefit from these new rules, it's really weird to insist upon it. You're
making huge negative generalizations -- and making it sound like something
of a conspiracy theory -- with nothing but personal bias to back it up.

Seems to me that you'd find any regulation not to your liking "crammed down
your throat." We live in a democracy, though. It happens. I'm paying
taxes for plenty of things I think are worthless, many of which I voted
against. C'est la vie.

Re: Peter

>One thing about the BLM regulations (not laws) is the prohibition on
sales of meteorites found on BLM lands. That prohibition will just create a
black market for these meteorites that will keep them out of the hands of

Doubt it. The only meteorites from BLM land that are commonly sold are
Franconia, Gold Basin, etc. It's the odd other meteorite that makes its way
to the market. New falls are really what's at risk here
-- and possibly finds that weigh more than 10 lbs. For most dealers,
though, I can't see this as being an issue. Since most stones are already
being sold privately, it doesn't matter. If worst came to worst, a finder
could claim that they purchased or were given a given stone in the field,
and they would no longer be subject to the BLM regulations that apply to

In short, there's no need for the development of a "black market,"
even if people wish to be unscrupulous. I think these new laws are silly,
but that's about it. I have the feeling that others are using such strong
language because they do fear later amendments that aren't so easy to get
around, but...I'll fight that battle if and/or when it arises.

>I believe that a ?free market? for meteorites encourages people to
hunt for meteorites.

Perhaps. Most hunters in the Southwest seem to hold onto their finds, by
and large, but many do not. That said, this does not change the free-market
nature of meteorites in the US. If people follow the rules, it will simply
attach a nominal fee to hunting on BLM land (and, theoretically, one could
hold off on getting a permit until after finding something in order to
guarantee no unnecessary loss of fees).

>The more people hunting the more meteorites found. The
more meteorites found the more meteorites that can be studied by scientists.

Right, but conjecturing that fewer meteorites will be found with the new
regulations seems odd to me. I'd be amazed to hear of anyone on the list
planning to hunt less based on the new regulations.

>Perhaps the terms of the
permit could be something along the lines of a $100 onetime fee that would
allow the hunter to hunt on BLM managed land. If the permits require
environmental impact statements and/or large fees none will be sought or

Of course. I'm guessing the ease of getting a permit will be along the
lines of a hunting permit, but there's really no way to know that without
trying to get one. Since the selling permit wouldn't raise the collection
limit or allow industrial hunting equipment, it seems unlikely that they
would required EOR-type material. The only likely disadvantage I see is
that hunters with a commercial/meteorite vending permit will be more likely
to have to pay taxes on their sales...if they weren't already doing so.


> From: Adam Hupe <raremeteorites at yahoo.com>
> Date: Mon, Dec 3, 2012 at 6:37 AM
> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] BLM and Meteorite Recovery Policy
> To: Adam <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
> I have never sold a single piece I have found on federal land and this
> is not what it is about for me. I do not see how I am being overly
> dramatic when our rights are being trampled by people who watch too
> much television, believe everything they read on the net and are
> clueless. You have much to learn if you think the government
> bureaucrats are out to protect you. It is all about careers, power
> and money for those who push pencils behind a desk. It is rare these
> days to find a bureaucrat that actually wants to serve his base
> without alternative motives.
> A very few regulations are a good thing but not when they are crammed
> down your throat by an uninformed bureaucrat who has not even vetted
> the real issues,
> Adam.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: jason utas <jasonutas at gmail.com>
> To: Meteorite-list <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
> Cc:
> Sent: Monday, December 3, 2012 12:38 AM
> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] BLM and Meteorite Recovery Policy
> Hello Adam, All,
> You're insinuating a heck of a lot with phrases like "Twisting laws to
> fit a bureaucrat's immediate needs is not the proper way to go about
> it and is unconstitutional."
> I've already clearly explained why the 1906 Antiquities Act *might*
> logically be altered to accommodate for other groups of objects. It
> shouldn't matter whether they choose to modify that set of rules
> versus making an entirely new rule(s). Calling it "twisting" is just
> misleading. I address this in my last email, which you apparently
> replied to without reading.
> Or saying anything, really. The rest of what you say seems baseless
> to someone who knows nothing about which bureaucrat you're making
> these accusations, or what his or her apparently sinister goals are.
> Or how/why these new rules somehow disagree with the constitution.
> As for your eight year old -- even children who inadvertently find
> their parents' drugs in their coat pockets aren't prosecuted.
> http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2012/09/28/sacramento-man-arrested-afte
> r-6-year-old-child-brings-meth-to-school/
> You're being a little too dramatic for my taste.
> If you adhere to the notion that meteorites belong to whoever's land
> they're found on, I don't think you can really blame the BLM for
> keeping track of *their* meteorites. This all rings too much of the
> recent "occupation" of some of Berkeley's agricultural land.
> http://www.dailycal.org/2012/05/13/gill-tract-occupiers-disregard-demo
> cratic-process/
> Just as technically state-owned (UC) land cannot be appropriated by
> citizens, public property is not inherently "yours" for the taking.
> You should read my last email. It really does address the
> "antiquities" aspect of things.
> And if people are indeed making their livings by collecting BLM
> resources....well, why not complain about hunting permits, mining
> permits, or anything else like that? If you're selling meteorites from
> BLM land, it means that you're making money from finding them. Most
> such things require permits. It does seem inconvenient to me, so I
> can understand wanting to avoid having to abide by the new rules, but
> taking it this far just seems....a bit much.
> I've still yet to see a reason that I as a recreational meteorite
> hunter should care about these laws. Apparently the limit is 10 lbs
> per year, not 25. But how much Franconia do you really want?
> Jason
>> From: Adam Hupe <raremeteorites at yahoo.com>
>> Date: Sun, Dec 2, 2012 at 11:53 PM
>> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] BLM and Meteorite Recovery Policy
>> To: Adam <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
>> You have heard the saying "give an inch and they will take a mile"
>> Richard Norton tried to warn anybody who would listen a decade ago.
>> Meteorites are no more antiques than the rocks in my back yard.
>> Twisting laws to fit a bureaucrat's immediate needs is not the proper
>> way to go about it and is unconstitutional. The word meteorite
>> couldn't even be found in a BLM officer's manual a mere year ago.
>> Now this has all changed.
>> The first 8-year old kid that picks up 10.01 pound meteorite will now
>> be considered a criminal.
>> Freedom isn't for free,
>> Adam
>> ----- Original Message -----
>> From: jason utas <jasonutas at gmail.com>
>> To: Meteorite-list <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
>> Cc:
>> Sent: Sunday, December 2, 2012 9:34 PM
>> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] BLM and Meteorite Recovery Policy
>> Hello All,
>> I'd like to point out a few things:
>> As an active meteorite hunter/collector, the proposed regulations do
>> not affect me. These new rules primarily affect the commercial
>> interest in meteorite hunting -- those people who regularly hunt on
>> public land and sell their finds. A precious few people publish any
>> information on their more 'important' finds. It often takes years
>> for such information to reach the public, if it does at all.
>> Most of the single-specimen 25+ lb stones found on BLM land in the
>> past two decades have been kept secret and out of the public sphere
>> of knowledge. I know of a few such stones, and have no doubt that
>> there are more. They haven't been submitted for analysis, and you can't
>> find photos online. Not for fear of the government claiming them,
>> but because the finders don't want the attention...or competition in
>> the field.
>> Sonny Clary is one of the very few people I know who publishes that
>> kind of information. And now his finds are being touted as examples
>> of why private meteorite hunters are such a boon for science, despite
>> the fact that he is a very big exception when compared to the rest of
>> us Southwest hunters. [Or maybe you think that no one else is
>> finding large meteorites? Seems unlikely, doesn't it?] That said,
>> such a law won't change this practice of keeping important* finds
>> secret, so I'm still not seeing the point of supporting either side.
>> *Perhaps "large" (>25 lbs) isn't synonymous with "importance." Seems
>> like a qualitative judgement to me.
>> Granted, we amateur hunters find meteorites. But, as a group, our
>> primary interest isn't the advancement of science. That much is very
>> clear. We're all interested in it to different extents, but we're
>> not donating our finds to science beyond what we have to (some folks
>> give a bit more, but it's almost always a fraction of a given stone).
>> With regards to recovery, we do indeed accomplish more than
>> scientists could on their own. Battle Mountain is the best example
>> of this in recent years: a new fall that would not have been
>> recovered without amateurs. But, with collectors and dealers finding
>> rocks, scientists get a much smaller cut of the material, with the
>> majority of it going to sale/into collections (and with no guarantee
>> of the quality of curatorship).
>> No one against the law has yet addressed this topic, which I think
>> may be an aspect of the problem. And no one is arguing that we
>> amateurs don't provide a valuable service by bringing new meteorites
>> to light that would otherwise not (ever?) be found. Nor do the
>> proposed regulations inhibit the right or ability of most hunters to
>> continue to do what they've been doing. You guys need to look at the
>> regulations and what they're actually going to change. Permits will
>> theoretically be required for selling meteorites found on BLM land
>> and uncommonly large finds that aren't usually reported anyway are
>> theoretically going to have to be turned in to the government.
>> ----------
>> The Antiquities Act -- yes, it seems a little odd to piggy-back
>> meteorites on an antiquity law that was not intended to include
>> meteorites. On the other hand, it's probably easier to pass
>> regulations on newly considered items by folding them into existing
>> regulatory categories. Instead of a new BLM department for
>> regulating meteorites, the government officials who went after
>> artifacts can now address both groups of items (meteorites +
>> artifacts). This doesn't seem like such an insane idea to me. Good?
>> I don't know. Since the new regulations don't affect me, I don't
particularly care.
>> Were these new aspects of the law intended under the original
>> legislation? Nope. But it seems that the *intent* of the people
>> changing the law is to restrict the private for-profit exploitation
>> of meteorites found on public land. So, they are passing the laws
>> that they intend to pass, which aren't the laws that someone wanted
>> back in 1906. Of course, back in 1906, we didn't know that
>> meteorites could be collected on public land and sold for
>> considerable profit, so the fact that there wasn't a law then (and
>> *perhaps* should be one now) is...kind of logical.
>> Seems a little less crazy now, doesn't it?
>> All that's left to do is debate the pros and cons of these proposed
>> regulations. I would go about it by comparing the regulations'
>> merits and drawbacks. Making this a legal argument of "but they
>> weren't intended to be covered by this law in 1906" seems odd to me.
>> With Gebel Kamil in Egypt, some academics tried to say that
>> meteorites fell under an antiquities law when no qualifying
laws/regulations had
>> ever been made. That didn't cut it for me. This is going through
>> actual legislative channels.
>> Generally, I don't like regulation, but...
>> After ~10 years of free-time-hunting, the largest stone Peter and I
>> have ever found out here in California weighs a measly few kilos.
>> Maybe when I find a 200 lb iron sitting out there, I'll think
>> differently. But the Smithsonian already confiscates the big
>> meteorites when they turn up (e.g. Old Woman). So....I'm not seeing
>> the difference between then and now -- unless you sell your finds and
>> don't like the idea of getting/renewing a permit every year. Even
>> though, if you fall into that category, you're taking meteorites that
>> legally belong the the BLM off of public land and selling them for
>> your own profit.
>> If it's a counter-argument the dealer population wishes to put forth,
>> then fine. But they should at least call it what it is. Meteorite
>> dealers make money by trading in a scientifically valuable commodity,
>> and protecting their right to sell meteorites found on public land in
>> the US is of course high on their list of interests.
>> It's a special interest.
>> ----------
>> Other things -
>> ----------
>> Martin - please stop using Australia as an example. We've gone over
>> Primarily:
>> http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:dNthXb8AJ5cJ:six
>> .pairlist.net/pipermail/meteorite-list/2011-January/072151.html+&cd=1
>> &hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
>> And (scroll to my message):
>> http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:UaGbL6qt2gsJ:six
>> .pairlist.net/pipermail/meteorite-list/2010-December/072063.html+&cd=
>> 1&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us
>> ----------
>> Adam - ambiguously bringing up stones like Kalahari 009 as examples
>> of mismanagement (private or public mis-management?) is odd. Since
>> the stone was found by a private party, if anything, it shows that
>> individual people aren't likely to be responsible curators of
>> meteorites. Having personally seen some prime examples of personal
>> *and* institutional mistreatment of meteorites, pointing out
>> individual examples doesn't accomplish much more than pointing
>> fingers.
>> I personally don't see why it's a horrible fact that Kalahari 009
>> wasn't studied as much as it could have been *when it was found.* We
>> haven't lost any information or scientific capability. Just time.
>> Science isn't running out of time.
>> Conversely, the meteorite could have been cut up and sold, with only
>> a small portion of it going to science. Which outcome is "better" is
>> entirely a matter of opinion.
>> ----------
>> Richard brought up the 300 lb Glorietta Mountain siderite as an
>> example of a wonderful meteorite that was brought to light by the
>> private sector.
>> I believe it is a perfect example of both sides of the issue. A
>> large
>> (historic?) meteorite of significant size was found on public land.
>> It probably would never have been found without private sector effort.
>> It was then cut (almost entirely) and sold for profit. The largest
>> known mass of a large American meteorite that theoretically belonged
>> to the American public and probably should have gone to a museum, was
>> instead...well, it's gone. I hope you enjoy the photos. The finder
>> wasn't wrong to do that -- it was entirely his prerogative. He owned
>> it. But I believe that these new laws may be partly intended to keep
>> such things from happening.
>> Whether you see that as good or bad depends on your values, but I'd
>> like to share my own.
>> Would that meteorite ever have been found without the private sector?
>> None of us can say, but it does seem unlikely that it would have
>> happened in the near future. But we do know one thing for sure --
>> that monolithic meteorite is *gone,* and you can be certain that it's
>> not coming back. Ultimately, the specimen was a source of income for
>> a meteorite hunter, and the sum of what we have to show for it now is
>> a bunch of slices scattered around the world -- that I can't tell
>> apart from Seymchan.
>> ----------
>> Most of the large American meteorites discovered on public and
>> private land in the past few decades (that have surfaced) have been
>> cut and no longer exist. They were cut for profit. There's a very long
>> I like to think that there's a reason we really appreciate the
>> Smithsonian and AMNH to see large rocks. We enjoy seeing photo
>> albums from various museums' collections on Facebook. Big rocks from
>> outer space are great for outreach and education. And they're
>> intact, so if anyone ever wants to do research on them in any way,
>> shape, or form in the future, they're available for that.
>> We're the reason that so few of these rocks are being preserved,
>> despite the fact that we admire them. Isn't it odd?
>> The only reason that I feel I might oppose these new regulations now
>> is because there's the chance that if they're passed, they *could* be
>> made more stringent in the future. However, since the current
>> wording doesn't affect me, I don't mind it.
>> All of this adamant nay-saying seems a bit much.
>> Jason
>>> From: Martin Altmann <altmann at meteorite-martin.de>
>>> Date: Sun, Dec 2, 2012 at 4:04 PM
>>> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] BLM and Meteorite Recovery Policy
>>> To: meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
>>> Hi Fred,
>>> "Artifact" would imply that your legislative authorities do believe
>>> in the existence of highly developed aliens somewhere between Mars and
>>> Maybe we can make here on the list a little collection to donate
>>> some more modern books than those of Percival Lowell to the Library
>>> of Congress, that this assumption has turned out to be unlikely.
>>> Uh coffee was perhaps a bad example - the prices for gasoline,
>>> energy, housing, meat will bring you immediately back!
>>> Can I sign too as non-citizen?
>>> Good night,
>>> (have to take my pills, was too talkative...) Martin
>>> -----Urspr?ngliche Nachricht-----
>>> Von: hall at meteorhall.com [mailto:hall at meteorhall.com]
>>> Gesendet: Montag, 3. Dezember 2012 00:32
>>> An: Martin Altmann
>>> Cc: meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
>>> Betreff: Re: [meteorite-list] BLM and Meteorite Recovery Policy
>>> Martin, is coffee a total cost of $7 per pound or are the taxes $7 per
>>> pound? If it is ONLY $7 per pound total cost, being a coffee drinker, I
>>> consider moving to Germany, as we pay $9 to $11 per 12 ounces, plus
>>> tax, in most States of the USA!
>>> A meteorite should not be considered an "artifact" unless it is
found in
>>> a Native American site or early American site. They are rocks, 99%+
>>> used by early man. Glorious rocks, but rocks none the less. If you find
>>> rock on BLM land, other then petrified wood or fossils, you can haul it
>>> even if it weighs 499 pounds. The petrified wood limit is 250 pounds per
>>> year per person.
>>> As for rocks, no permit is needed on BLM land UNLESS you want to mine
>>> minerals. Picking up a rock, by hand, on the surface is not mining.
>>> Sign me up to end this new ruling by our lord and master, the BLM.
>>> Fred Hall
>>> ______________________________________________
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