[meteorite-list] Rationale for BLM regulations

From: Adam Hupe <raremeteorites_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Sun, 9 Dec 2012 09:29:07 -0800 (PST)
Message-ID: <1355074147.29023.YahooMailNeo_at_web122002.mail.ne1.yahoo.com>

I disagree with point "A"? I do not think there should be an arbitrary weight limit and nothing is being protected.? I know a casual collector who found a 26 pound meteorite here in Nevada. Under these new rules, it would have to be surrendered to the Smithsonian who seems to have the attitude, all or nothing which was proven by the Old Woman fiasco.? I have detected disdain from some of their staff for the casual collector and dealer alike.? Unless they change their attitude, I have a feeling these new rules will push U.S. field collecting underground.

I am not inferring any wrongdoing on the part of the finders with the following statements: In case you have not noticed, the very top two finds here were reported to have been found on private land which may very well be true and not just a coincidence.? I do not think anybody wins under these new rules, the collector or science.? Take note that no artifacts are being reported as found on public land anymore since restrictions were put in place.?? Some finders seem to have a false sense of territory and entitlement these days.?? I am not among them and believe in unrestricted and free collaboration.? Most people will do right given the chance unless unreasonable demands are put into play.

How much would a permit for the 89% public land here in Nevada be, perhaps $100,000.00?? I do not believe that any such commercial permits will ever be issued. If they were, you would be taking away use of public land to others.? What happens to claim jumpers?

Perhaps, we should also ask what media influenced their policy making decisions and what the big urgency was to restrict collecting?? We should also state to them that "you shouldn't believe everything that you see on T.V. or read in the newspaper without verification or a unbiased consensus."? Less than a few million dollars a year changes hands in meteorites, a mere pittance when compared to other collectables like mineral specimens which have a much wider audience.


From: "Nicholas Gessler, Ph.D." <nick.gessler at duke.edu>
To: Meteorite List <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
Sent: Sunday, December 9, 2012 8:18 AM
Subject: [meteorite-list] Rationale for BLM regulations

My personal take-home message:
A) BLM policy is not a bad thing for those of us who go into the field to collect.
B) Those of us who do search and find should reciprocate by supporting
scientific research and education by reporting finds and donating samples.

I'm in the middle of grading student projects as well as communications
with Frank Jenks of the BLM.? I have further questions to ask of him.? I do
not want to misinterpret what they've told me, but in the interim this is my
interpretation of what they've said...

The legislation appears to give full power to those who go to the field to collect.?
For that, I think we can be grateful.? I think it is incumbent on those of us who
do make finds to have them characterized, by generously providing at
least the standard "20% or 20 grams, whichever is less" to a meteoritic
laboratory and subsequently report the characterization to the Meteoritical
Bulletin.? I also think it is appropriate to gift a sample to the "National Collection."

BLM is charged by Congress to collect, (on behalf of the people of the US),
"the fair market value" (FMV) from any activity taking place on BLM lands.
So from a legal and accountancy perspective:

1) Commercial activities need to proceed under permit, with fees and
FMV collected.

2) Universities, Museum & Research Institutions, by nature of being
non-profit and tax-exempt, may collect under permit but without paying
the FMV, and in lieu of that FMV the BLM will retain ownership.

3) Casual collectors need no permits for under 10 pounds, and are not charged
FMV so long as they do not sell or barter their meteorites..

I was also told:

The Antiquities Act only comes into play as a vehicle under which to
issue permits in full awareness that meteorites are not the same as
archaeological resources.

An individual collector may often fall into each or all of those three categories
at various times.

Along these lines of reasoning, I will forward these further questions to

a) Can a "casually collected" meteorite later be changed to a meteorite
collected for "commercial purposes" by the application for a commercial

b) Is it the case that no permit for collecting meteorites would confer
the sole privilege of collecting meteorites to the permit holder.? In other
words, no permit holder may prevent another from collecting.

c) Please tell us the scope in time and region covered of a permit.
Would they be monthly, annually, for the state, the county, the township, etc?

d) It would be good to know the cost of typical permit fees and the means
by which the "fair market value" of a meteorite will be determined.

e) It would be good to know the typical time required to process a

I hope to hear back soon and when I do I will report what I've learned.
I want to ensure that it is not hearsay.

P.S.? If any readers would care to forward copies of the fee structures
of any permits they have obtained, I would appreciate receiving them
either in confidence or for posting.? Again, I would like to summarize
our experiences on the web beginning some time in January.

nick.gessler at duke.edu

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Received on Sun 09 Dec 2012 12:29:07 PM PST

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