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John B.

Meteorite Law Update

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As a retired Fed, with criminal enforcement, but not in FS or BLM law, experience may I suggest:

The guy who got ticketed should go to court, request a jury trial and simultaneously file a claim in the US Court of Claims for return of his wrongfully confiscated property. He'll need to do some serious research to find a competent attorney who is knowledgeable in Court of Claims cases, which is vastly different from the US District Courts.

His case in District Court, or maybe Magistrate court depending on severity of the charge, should be that he violated no law, that the policy is wrong, that the clear plain wording of the statute does not support the charge, and that his property, located minerals, was wrongfully seized. The US Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the statute enacted by Congress is controlling whenever there is a conflict between law and regulation, even more so with mere policy. The Court of Claims is the court people should go to when their government has wrongfully taken their stuff, and has resulted in some very favorable (to the private person, not the government) rulings regarding water rights in the West.

The sad truth is there's really only two ways to get this dreadful misinterpretation of law changed. Through the Courts, or by act of Congress. In this administration, it's a crap shoot either way. That's why a formal organization to represent meteorite prospectors is so vital. They can do the ground work, find competent attornies, and also filter for the best cases that come up, and even combine them into a class action suit for maximum bang for the buck. They can also lobby Congress for legislation which would forestall the need for Court cases. All of which costs a lot of money, which would be provided by dues paying members and donations and investments.

If Metorite prospectors are not willing to band together and put up the money in their own defense, then tough luck for them all. There are many organizations which have successfully used this method for many years. Why not us, too?

Hi, I agree that hunters need to come together as a group. A legal entity with a common goal and purpose. Meteorite hunters and researchers/scientists should in fact band together. The MHA (Meteorite Hunting Association) is for all these purposes.

Protecting our rights as meteorite hunters

Protecting and advancing the science of meteoritics with responsible meteorite hunting

Promoting the allowance for private education study and collection of meteorites

Promoting meteorite education to the public through creating outreach programs and MHA member group outings/meetings

Promoting a positive image for the private sector meteorite hunter/researcher

Lobbying the government for positive and mutually beneficial change in the unfair and misinterpreted law

Creating a FUN and positive organization for the advancement of the science

We've already started forming this "non-profit" group. We must adhere to government rules when forming this organization and there are certain steps we must make and there's paperwork to file.

We're inviting those with the skills and talents needed as founding members, and forming what will become the board of directors. From there we move forward with funding. Right now I'm funding most of it from my own pocket.

This is all up to the meteorite hunters, researchers and scientists who wish to see this science advance in a positive way. Stick your head in the stand, do nothing, and watch your rights be trampled, lose your meteorites to the government, and watch the science be stifled and slowed.

OR, Stand together and build an organization that will promote what we love! Don't you want the public to know what you know about meteorites? Don't you want the public to realize and feel your passion and love for meteorites, meteorite hunting, and the science?

Then join the MHA, and let your voice be heard.

Regards,

Eric

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Hi Eric

I guess your not going to sue me for liable anymore ??? :tisk-tisk: The way the legal minds from the U of A explained the old meteorite collecting policy to us was. Similar to the old collecting rules posted on the BLM and the Forest Service web sites with one possible exception. The old rules ONLY allowed you to collect and posses for personal use only 25lbs & one piece per day and a maximum of 250 Lbs per year. NOT TO BE SOLD, BARTERED OR TRADED. Few if any hunters/collectors follow those guidelines and now we all suffer the loss. Therefor you don't own or have clear title or licence to any meteorites taken on Public Lands, you only have custody with restrictions or a limited licence to posses. The only possible exception the U of A lawyers thought there might be was on the original pieces that a piece of was taken for study and the balance returned to the finder. Those and only those individual pieces they thought would be granted legal title ?? But I guess that is untested law. In the early days of the Gold Basin Hunt the U of A took random pieces from our BLM finds and sent them off to the Smithsonian in some arangement Dr Kring worked out with them. All the pieces we found on the Rec Area with our permits were recorded, turned into the U of A and sent to the Smithsonian. I for one am for total personal freedoms and little or no regulations from our government ( anti Obama crap) but rules are rules and the IMCA and dealers and most hunters in general could care less or self regulate their own behavior. Face it it's been a pretty unwatched and then a TV show brings it to the greenies attention about all the money these dealers/hunters are getting rich on, God forbid someone actually hurts a clump of grass while hunting space rocks !!

Eric the only hope we have for bieng able to hunt public lands legally is get rid of this socialistic dork and his green regeim and vote in someone who can deregulate the BLM, and Forest Circus and a ton of other bloated government crap. Or we get someone like PLP to take them on and spend a boat load of cash with a small to slim chance of winning our rights back. At the current rate of our losses in personal freedoms with this huge government that the Imbosouls(sp?) on the meteorite list wanted so bad and how horrible Bush was they deserve what they got. Also your idea of taxing the sale is stupid !! I mean if your a legitimate dealer you already pay taxes on the profit of the sale anyways or as a lot do just don't declare it !! I'm either too stupid or too honest to belong to either of these groups.

Happy Huntin John B.

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Also with regard to research grants, sponsorship and funding for scientific studies...

Meteorite research grants can be issued by both the MHA and the Government/Smithsonian for the study of meteorites, expeditions etc. The government through the Smithsonian could very well distribute grants funded by my proposed "Meteorite Tax" and license fees collected through the BLM.

The Meteorite Hunting Association could supply funding in the form of research grants to scientists and institutions as well! The MHA's funding for grants would be raised by donations since it will be "non-profit" organization. These would be tax deductible donations of course. If we cannot form as a non-profit, or are somehow denied non-profit status by the government, no worries, donations and funding can still be gained from private sources and investments.

Other Programs that could be funded by the MHA

MHA sponsored research and educational grants to educational institutions

Educational programs - Public Outreach

College Level Meteorite Education Funding - Curriculum

Meteorite related educational publications; Books, magazines, pamphlets, newsletters etc.

Scientific Research Programs - i.e. Building a private sector nationwide fireball camera network to compile fireball data and information on fireballs and meteorite falls. I've already designed the concept for the camera system and have the support of MANY meteorite hunters for this!

Funding for a complete meteorite studies and testing lab

Mapping strewnfields etc. Sharing of information to compile more accurate data. I did this with the WI meteorite strewnfield just recently when I requested the help and find data of many other meteorite hunters which were more than generous to share their own find coordinates. I compiled all this data into what I believe to be the most accurate and thorough map of the WI meteorite strewnfield to date. Each person that shared their meteorite coordinates with me, received the whole map which consists of about 60-70 exact GPS coordinates of WI meteorite finds submitted by 10-20 meteorite hunters. A few people did not share though in spite of the requests and that they would receive a copy of the map, but we have a very good picture of the strewnfield now because this effort was made, data was shared and people cooperated. More accurate information is available because of this effort, more meteorites were found because people shared early on, and we learned more about the strewnfield.

That's one BIG reason why I'm promoting the creation of the MHA. Share information, join forces and the meteorite science will advance exponentially!

This is VERY doable! I've been working on this plan for well over a year, probably closer to 2 years since the inception of the original idea for this organization. Ask others in this community. I've been promoting this idea for a LONG time.

It's time to do it NOW! You either do it, or you don't...

Regards,

Eric

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Hi Eric

I guess your not going to sue me for liable anymore ??? :tisk-tisk: The way the legal minds from the U of A explained the old meteorite collecting policy to us was. Similar to the old collecting rules posted on the BLM and the Forest Service web sites with one possible exception. The old rules ONLY allowed you to collect and posses for personal use only 25lbs & one piece per day and a maximum of 250 Lbs per year. NOT TO BE SOLD, BARTERED OR TRADED. Few if any hunters/collectors follow those guidelines and now we all suffer the loss. Therefor you don't own or have clear title or licence to any meteorites taken on Public Lands, you only have custody with restrictions or a limited licence to posses. The only possible exception the U of A lawyers thought there might be was on the original pieces that a piece of was taken for study and the balance returned to the finder. Those and only those individual pieces they thought would be granted legal title ?? But I guess that is untested law. In the early days of the Gold Basin Hunt the U of A took random pieces from our BLM finds and sent them off to the Smithsonian in some arangement Dr Kring worked out with them. All the pieces we found on the Rec Area with our permits were recorded, turned into the U of A and sent to the Smithsonian. I for one am for total personal freedoms and little or no regulations from our government ( anti Obama crap) but rules are rules and the IMCA and dealers and most hunters in general could care less or self regulate their own behavior. Face it it's been a pretty unwatched and then a TV show brings it to the greenies attention about all the money these dealers/hunters are getting rich on, God forbid someone actually hurts a clump of grass while hunting space rocks !!

Eric the only hope we have for bieng able to hunt public lands legally is get rid of this socialistic dork and his green regeim and vote in someone who can deregulate the BLM, and Forest Circus and a ton of other bloated government crap. Or we get someone like PLP to take them on and spend a boat load of cash with a small to slim chance of winning our rights back. At the current rate of our losses in personal freedoms with this huge government that the Imbosouls(sp?) on the meteorite list wanted so bad and how horrible Bush was they deserve what they got. Also your idea of taxing the sale is stupid !! I mean if your a legitimate dealer you already pay taxes on the profit of the sale anyways or as a lot do just don't declare it !! I'm either too stupid or too honest to belong to either of these groups.

Happy Huntin John B.

Hi John, No I'm not planning on suing you for libel right now. Maybe later... ;) I can look past all the crap and personal stuff I think to the greater good of the issue at hand. This is bigger than me or you, or the guy down the street. I'm a realist, and think I can separate fact from emotion. I'll deal with your comment later. ;) You know you can still call me... still waiting on that call. I'd be happy to speak with you. ;)

You make some very good and valid points. "...The old rules ONLY allowed you to collect and posses for personal use only 25lbs & one piece per day and a maximum of 250 Lbs per year. NOT TO BE SOLD, BARTERED OR TRADED...."

This is for minerals... not meteorites. All the laws and rules you mentioned are. For lack of a better law, they use the mineral laws. Which makes perfect sense because there is NO meteorite law.

It makes no sense, now. It made sense back in the Old Days, but now things are changing, you''re absolutely right. Publicity and awareness is increasing with regard to meteorites. This increase was predicted over 2 years ago. People didn't believe it then, but now things have changed! Awareness is increasing, you can't stop it. The ball is already rolling and has been gaining momentum for years now. It's time for a fair meteorite law I think. The government will continue to infringe on everyone's hunting rights if we continue to ignore the issue. Hoping it will go away is not going to help things.

I say lobby for a FAIR and specific Meteorite Law which provides for what we've mentioned here in this thread that allows meteorite hunting on federal land by private sector meteorite hunters, researchers and scientists.

No one will argue against the fact that "meteorites aren't just rocks". They truly are special, just like gold, or diamonds when considering monetary value, and they are scientifically valuable because they can tell us so much about our universe, and they are intrinsically valuable to us because of the feeling they give us when we hold them, collect them and study them ourselves.

So given that we can most likely agree that meteorites are not ORDINARY rocks, why then should they governed by common mineral laws? Or worse a misinterpreted Act.

It makes ZERO sense. That's what's stupid! Not my proposed "Meteorite Tax"... ;)

So what, businesses pay taxes on sales. But if you want to truly advance and protect this science why not have a fair and special tax on meteorites that will help fund continued research and scientific study? Or if you don't like the word 'tax' call it a volunteer donation which will help fund the advancement of the science.

This is about give and take. Give some, take some. Give more, get more.

Share and we all win!

Regards,

Eric

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Hi Again Eric

You can get a permit !! You could go to most Universities that study them and get them to apply for you. They get all the meteorites and data and you get the wonderful warm fuzzy experience !! The good thing is you get to deduct all of your expenses on tax day, unless Obama changes the tax rules. But don't expect them to pay for any of your expenses because most are cutting expenses and raising pay for pensions and tenures :whaaaa: . Happy Huntin John B.

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Hi Again Eric

You can get a permit !! You could go to most Universities that study them and get them to apply for you. They get all the meteorites and data and you get the wonderful warm fuzzy experience !! The good thing is you get to deduct all of your expenses on tax day, unless Obama changes the tax rules. But don't expect them to pay for any of your expenses because most are cutting expenses and raising pay for pensions and tenures :whaaaa: . Happy Huntin John B.

Ok... I've said what I have to say. So, you can get a permit, big deal. What's the point of a permit if you can;t keep the meteorites you find? What's your proposal? What's your "plan of action" to fix this situation that allows the gov. to take your meteorites?

I'm not challenging you, just give everyone something to grab onto rather than portraying things like you're arguing with me for the fun of it.

If you're agreeing with me on the idiocy of the misinterpretation of the Act, then propose a solution instead of arguing points which don't really answer questions. All your points have been noted and discussed in the past. What's NEW!?

Eric

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Just some questions. If I'm paying a fee for a hunting permit, since it is a dedicated fee, shouldn't that be enough for the government? After all, if I sell the meteorite, sales tax must be charged. Then, at tax time, I will be taxed on that income. After I pay that tax, I invest the remaining profit but, must pay a tax on any money that THAT money earns, plus if I spend any of that, I get to pay sales taxes all over again. Lets be resonable here. Also, If 80,000 Franconia chondrites are harvested from that field, do research institutions/the Smithsonian, need or want a physical twenty percent of every one of 80,000 stones for analysis or display? What about my less than a gram throwdown Franconia? It's going to be a real S.O.B. cutting off twenty percent of that little bugger. How about the dozens of sub-gram "cornflake irons" (Sacramento 005)? And God forbid, what about one of my cute, little Holbrook peas, some no larger than a match-head? We can agree that regulations may be made to satisfy science and Big Brother, but, they must incorporate common sense, and not end up as meat for yet more bureaucrats looking to lean on the little people, just because they can. I think we can find solutions for these questions that will satisfy all resonable people, if we work at it.

Ben

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A meteorite tax is idiotic, silly,and unenforceable. Besides I'm sure DC could do without the $2000.00 a year it might bring in... Seriously - a meteorite tax?? We have enough silly tax laws as it is.. The last thing we need is another precedent for some idiot in DC to think up. Meteorites now. What's next? A tax on gold nugget hunting? A tax on rock collecting? A tax on mushroom hunting? I could go and on.

Donating meteorites to a scientific institution is a great idea as long as they actually study them and not put into a box in the basement never to be seen again. Remember the last scene in the movie- "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? That's what happens to most of the donations.

Steve

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Hi, Mr.B....Thanks, are you ready for some chili verde?

Steve;

they most likely thought there could be more in the area...

What , in reality, is so different between a gold placer deposit and a meteorite strewn field...one is formed from the scattering of lode gold through earthly means and the other is scattered through celestial means...

Nonetheless, the issue is who owns meteorites found on federal (the peoples) land...

Fred

Fred- No doubt there's still some pieces of Old Woman around there someplace. I simply refuse to believe something that size came down in a single piece.

To me the difference between a gold placer and a meteorite strewnfield is the end result. Almost all the gold mined is going to be smelted, refined and made into something. Whereas meteorites are going to be collected and perhaps studied. I'm sure the original writers of the 1842 mining act never even thought about meteorites... I would say if meteorites were going to be mined, smelted and refined for the content, you should be able to file a claim on them. Of course they are not... Just being pragmatic. ;) Besides if you could file a claim on meteorites, think of the restrictions you would have at Holbrook. Franconia and others. Be careful what you wish for. ;) ;)

Personally- I think things should stay exactly as they are. Finders keepers.

Steve

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Oh, Steve, I ain't wishing...just commenting. You do know that the way things are...finders keepers only works if what you find is either common or kept secret. The friendly "crats" of the world will come down on you like the plagues of Eygpt if you find anything they want...the Old woman is only one example...

Eric, this is a discussion and I think you have reasoned out a fairly god plan; but; and no one seems to care for a "tax' which would be burdensome and difficult to collect..(would not want to make the Tax-person work too hard.)

Have you considered a system similar to the one in England that is used for artifacts. If the Government wants a find based on solid criteria they pay, if they don't want it the finder keeps it...seems fair and eliminates any motive to cheat.

Of course you could just ignore this and my previous comments...

Fred

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Eric I think you've got a good start there but need to think it through a lot more. One huge hole in your idea- most of the meteorite dealers sell NWA's, this seems to be their bread and butter. Fred brings up a very good point about Englands law for artifacts and I tend to agree with this. Their law seems resonable to me because they work with artifact hunters and not against them.

As for a tax and a permit... Hell if I have to do this I'll just go to "picking up cool looking rocks" and won't report anything!

Del

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A meteorite tax is idiotic, silly,and unenforceable. Besides I'm sure DC could do without the $2000.00 a year it might bring in... Seriously - a meteorite tax?? We have enough silly tax laws as it is.. The last thing we need is another precedent for some idiot in DC to think up. Meteorites now. What's next? A tax for walking on government property? A tax on rock collecting? A tax on mushroom hunting? I could go and on.

Donating meteorites to a scientific institution is a great idea as long as they actually study them and not put into a box in the basement never to be seen again. Remember the last scene in the movie- "Raiders of the Lost Ark"? That's what happens to most of the donations.

Steve

Steve, Please take no offense to what I say, but doing nothing about it solves no problems at all. We're trying to fix something that's broken, unfair and possibly not legal with regard to the Old Woman meteorite and meteorite hunting on federal land in general.

Your comment "...Personally- I think things should stay exactly as they are. Finders keepers..." is not really realistic because that's NOT how it is. There is no Finders Keepers law... Right now if you find a meteorite on federal land, the BLM mistakenly thinks it belongs to the Smithsonian. NOWHERE in any legislation does it say this is law.

(Read my comment below to Fred about the Finders Keepers issue)

Your "leave it alone" comment is also defeatist. It stops your fight before you start, and it's not an option to actually effect a positive change.

Also, I do agree that a donating meteorites to scientific institutions is good, but only if there are guarantees in place that the meteorite will actually be studied, placed on display, or otherwise "used" in an educational manner. Sticking the meteorite in a drawer to never see the light of day where no member of the public can see it seems silly to me, and serves no purpose other than protecting the meteorite, and adding to institutional collection of meteorite specimens they already have. If they don't have a type sample specimen, then that's a different story.

Maybe a meteorite tax is idiotic...;) You could be right about that. But lets back up a second. Your mention of the $2000 per year it might bring in, brings up a good point. Multiply that $2000 by ALL the meteorite hunters that will hunt and find meteorites, report them and pay the tax. Forget about the government getting this cash. This money would go directly into a Research Grant Fund that could supply universities and private researchers with money needed for continued meteorite research. Seems logical to me, and solves some problems of not having much needed funding to advance the science.

Yes there are lots of taxes already, and maybe a meteorite tax is stupid. Maybe it shouldn't be a tax!

You could elect to 'donate' a percentage of the proceeds of your meteorite sale (if you ever decide to sell it) to the Grant Fund... This could be a check box on the "Meteorite Hunting License"...? Maybe that would be better. Make it elective, since not everyone sells their finds anyway. You could also donate directly to the Grant Fund as well.

Tax no... Donate yes...? ;)

Oh, Steve, I ain't wishing...just commenting. You do know that the way things are...finders keepers only works if what you find is either common or kept secret. The friendly "crats" of the world will come down on you like the plagues of Eygpt if you find anything they want...the Old woman is only one example...

Eric, this is a discussion and I think you have reasoned out a fairly god plan; but; and no one seems to care for a "tax' which would be burdensome and difficult to collect..(would not want to make the Tax-person work too hard.)

Have you considered a system similar to the one in England that is used for artifacts. If the Government wants a find based on solid criteria they pay, if they don't want it the finder keeps it...seems fair and eliminates any motive to cheat.

Of course you could just ignore this and my previous comments...

Fred

Hi Fred, I'm not ignoring you... ;)

Finders keepers on 'federal land' is getting close to what I think would be a good law. (note there is no finders keepers law right now) If one were to be placed in effect, there needs to be a CLEAR distinction and separation between private land and federal land with that type of law with regard to meteorites. There can be no ambiguity which will allow a vague misinterpretation to be carried over to or have any authority over private land rights. Period.

I think it can be done though. At the same time, I still believe the government should get a small and 'fair' percentage of any meteorite found on federal land. 10% or 20% or whatever is fair to you and them. If you want the government to rescind this idiotic misinterpretation of the Act and allow you to own the meteorite you rightfully find on federal land you should at least give something back to them for allowing it.

Just my opinion...

Eric I think you've got a good start there but need to think it through a lot more. One huge hole in your idea- most of the meteorite dealers sell NWA's, this seems to be their bread and butter. Fred brings up a very good point about Englands law for artifacts and I tend to agree with this. Their law seems resonable to me because they work with artifact hunters and not against them.

As for a tax and a permit... Hell if I have to do this I'll just go to "picking up cool looking rocks" and won't report anything!

Del

Hi Del, Thanks for the compliments on the idea, but if I think more on it I might go insane... :zapped: The idea for the MHA however is already planned.

With regard to the Meteorite Law. Yes of course, that needs to be thought out much more to make it fair for everyone involved. It's a start for now...

I'm a little confused by your relating meteorite dealers selling NWAs...? What does NWAs have to do with what we're talking about? Just asking, as I really can't see the connection you're making. Are you referring to the lack of classification and location data with regard to NWA meteorites, and that meteorite dealers are buying and selling meteorites which have no real provenance?

Just as a side note... Dealing in meteorites is not what the MHA organization is about. One has nothing to do with the other? The MHA is not for the "meteorite dealer", it's for meteorite hunter. Though anyone who would like to join the MHA and learn about meteorite hunting can. There is a separation there. Besides, the IMCA is for dealers. Let's say you join the MHA (which I hope you do by the way) and if you ever decided to sell any of your finds would that make you a dealer? Maybe by definition. Some dealers also hunt meteorites... NWA and others. Would we exclude them or prevent them from becoming members of the MHA. No. Anyone interested in meteorite hunting and meteorite science can join. Even lawyers... ;)

------------------------------

Regards,

Eric

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As for a tax and a permit... Hell if I have to do this I'll just go to "picking up cool looking rocks" and won't report anything!

Del

I think I can agree that the tax thing isn't viable. However, I hope you would reconsider a Meteorite Hunting License. Would you dredge for gold without a permit? Would you hunt deer, rabbit, elk, or any other game without a hunting license. There are also many minerals which you must get a permit to locate, mine, or sell. What makes meteorites different?

Your comment "...I'll just go to "picking up cool looking rocks" and won't report anything!..."

Del, you and I, and everyone else knows that this is probably not responsible, and will hurt the science. You're a professional, you hunt meteorites for fun and collection. What purpose does hiding your location data serve anyone? I'm only asking because I think this is a "cut your nose off to spite your face" gut reaction to a tax. I empathize with you on that reaction.

I agree the tax thing is probably not the best idea. But read my post above. It doesn't have to be a tax. It could be a volunteer donation to the grant fund. All license fee funds could go directly to the Meteorite Research Grant Fund.

Now let me ask you and EVERYONE else this question.

Would you as a meteorite hunter, buy a Meteorite Hunting License (to hunt federal land legally and own the meteorite you find) if you knew that the proceeds from that license fee goes to help protect and preserve our lands, while at the same time provide funding for grants for continued and advanced meteorite research and science?

Regards,

Eric

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Ditto, I like Fred's idea modeled on Britain's treasure trove laws. If the authorities think what I've found is special scientifically, then they'd be willing to pay fair market price for the 20 grams or 20 percent needed for analysis and type specimen. if not, it's mine. They can have the coordinates if they actually want all of them. That said, I remember promising Jim Smaller to give him the coords of all Franconia finds greater than 100 grams, that he in turn, gave to a researcher at ASU for strewnfield mapping. I asked Jim why not on the ones under 100 grams, since there are so many more of them, and he said "they (ASU) don't want them".

Ben

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I asked Jim why not on the ones under 100 grams, since there are so many more of them, and he said "they (ASU) don't want them".

Ben

Curious why ASU didn't want the coordinates of Franconia meteorites under 100g?

"...If the authorities think what I've found is special scientifically, then they'd be willing to pay fair market price for the 20 grams or 20 percent needed for analysis and type specimen. if not, it's mine..."

Sounds fair...

"...They can have the coordinates if they actually want all of them...."

I think recording coordinates should be "required", but only if there is an allowance for the finders ownership of the meteorite. It's best practices of meteorite hunting, and it provides accurate data. But this will only work if the fear of losing your meteorite to the government disappears.

Regards,

Eric

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hi Eric

I enjoyed our long phone chat last night. I'm pretty set on my ideas and I'm not sure how to proceed. It will depend on PLP or another similar organization. Or the first arrestee or cited hunter !! I'm going to persue contact with those I know in the labs and universities and see their ideas or feelings on this issue. On another note exact locations of finds really aren't that critical on most finds. On strewnfields that's a totally different story in trying to determine gradiation of sizes and direction. Obviously the larger masses will be out at the far end by themselves and it's an indicator of where to look. I think the Nomanclature committee and it's members really use location info so they aren't reclassifing the same material over and over again. I always GPS my finds of significance or anything new then there is no confusion if I'm in unfamiliar areas. Face it probably many of the finds that are made are of significant terrestrial age and weather and other unknown forces may have moved many pieces significant distances from thier original landing site.

Happy Huntin John B.

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hi Eric

I enjoyed our long phone chat last night. I'm pretty set on my ideas and I'm not sure how to proceed. It will depend on PLP or another similar organization. Or the first arrestee or cited hunter !! I'm going to persue contact with those I know in the labs and universities and see their ideas or feelings on this issue. On another note exact locations of finds really aren't that critical on most finds. On strewnfields that's a totally different story in trying to determine gradiation of sizes and direction. Obviously the larger masses will be out at the far end by themselves and it's an indicator of where to look. I think the Nomanclature committee and it's members really use location info so they aren't reclassifing the same material over and over again. I always GPS my finds of significance or anything new then there is no confusion if I'm in unfamiliar areas. Face it probably many of the finds that are made are of significant terrestrial age and weather and other unknown forces may have moved many pieces significant distances from thier original landing site.

Happy Huntin John B.

Hi John, Ditto! I was pleasantly surprised with your call enjoyed the conversation. You truly are knowledgeable. You gave me some perspectives that I hadn't looked at yet, and thanks for sharing your stories with me and congrats again on the asteroid! I remember hearing about it a while back, but hearing it from you added unique insight.

The PLP might be a good idea, not familiar with them. Perhaps they could do something to help. I do hope though it doesn't come down to having to defend some poor guy/gal who gets arrested or cited on this issue.

Like I said to you on the phone, I think getting participation from those at the universities and other educational institutions is also important. We're actually doing thisFOR the science, AND the the protection of the rights of meteorite hunters. The universities need information too. They don't have to accept it, but once we start compiling it, it will become a valuable resource.

I can see the logic and relative importance of recording data on single cold finds not being as crucial. But I still think it's a best practice nonetheless. ;) Strewnfields go without saying, all finds should be cataloged if possible. Old/Cold finds on dry lakes, washes, aluvial deposits, hillsides, blowouts, etc. could have moved from their original fall location, so technically unless you find and pair it with another, you're right, it's not as important to record coordinates, yet still important. Who writes the best practices of any given anything anyway? Or do we make them up as we go along? ;)

Eric

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Eric; I believe there is plenty of case law regarding private property and objects there on or in...the issue is that Federal Land is not private, nor are the contents the property of the Feds; even though the care-takers of "the People's Land" seem to believe the land is theirs.

When you say "giving back' that implies that there was ownership to begin with...again, it ain't their stuff to give!

I think you have spent considerable time working on this issue and that is commendable...I tip my hat!

And so, I repeat, I will join as long as there are no paid administrators of your tax-exempt organization....if you want me.

Fred

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Interesting reading through this thread. Lots of things to think about, and some things puzzle me.

Regarding the current laws not being written for meteorites. excuse me, but aren't meteorites minerals? And didn't all minerals ultimately come from space? What difference does it make if it's a meteorite, gold nugget, obsidian, turquoise, of just a very pretty rock? the law should apply evenly to all minerals.

As to "finders-keepers", isn't that the law now? If I go into the BLM or USFS administered land and find a gold nugget or pan out some gold dust, or find a diamond or emerald, I can keep it, I found it, it's mine. What's the difference with meteorites? Heck, the Park Service even has parks where people can go prospect for gems and keep all they find.

I think some are trying to over-complicate a pretty simple matter, or maybe elevate it to some elite vocation above mere prospecting. But really, isn't that what meteorite hunters do, prospect for minerals? Let's not make more out of it than it is. Sure there may be some scientific value in some meteorites, but realistically, the universities and museums can't keep up with what's found now and most sample goe unstudied, same as fossils, artifacts and even other gems and minerals. Realistically, there's no difference between finding a meteorite and finding a gem stone, gold nugget or any thing else on public lands.

As mentioned by a few, the true issue is ownership of what's found on "public" lands. Need to have more focus on the real issue, and not get sidetracked with semantics. Any claims to seek court decisions on this matter should be addressed in the US Court of Claims, not the US District Courts. They are the proper jurisdiction for findings of title, ownership, reimbursement for loss, etc. in claims against the government, and have lots of experience in digging through the statutes, regulations and policies to find what's right. Look at some of the cases they've handled regarding water rights, now that is much more touchy than prospecting for some space rocks. But they recognized rights of the citizen, and held against the government.

Just some thought from a rank newbie. Pardon the interruption.

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Hi Fred

I haven't ignored you ?? You actually brought an interesting perspective to this whole arguement. Everything on this earth, plants (including government mental giants), all animals ,metal, water, gold nuggets and even the dreaded carbon dioxide all originated by meteorites or acreted objects in early space. Just where do these guys draw the line ????? Eric I will call you but I refuse to join your group as with the IMCA there are illegal activities within that group as well. That's were this whole greif started because of commercialization.

Happy Huntin John B.

I agree I have had nothing but bad luck when dealing with the imca, they all seem to be meteorite geniuses and down talk anyone who is not a member. While at the same time trying to divert you to their meteorites for sale. They try to be the meteorite police and tell you that what you have is not a meteorite - while one of their members is holding an exact duplicate telling you that his is authentic and buy mine because I am a proud imca member. NO THANK YOU. The meteorite community would be a better place without the IMCA,

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Please try and get the name and date and location of the guy that got this "ticket". I want to look up the case.

Thank you

Jim

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The prospectors who found the Old Women meteorite in 1975 also tried to file a claim where it was found but it was denied. In all honesty, I don't believe iron meteorites were intended to be "mined" and the idea of someone filing a claim on a potential strewnfield is somewhat far fetched. :twocents: :twocents:

Steve

Pardon a newbie for resurrecting this old post.

I'm wondering what's so far fetched about a mining claim for meteorites in a strewn field?

I'm thinking a strewn field is analagous to a gold placer deposit. It's not where the mineral formed, but where it wound up through natural processes. Claims are filed and proved up on placer mine all the time, why not a strewn field? The meteorite wasn't formed there, but wound up there through natural processes and was found, "located", and can then be mined.

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Hi EDD270

I think the logic and court case determination is that meteorites are not a locatable mineral :unsure: . Because there is no indicating geology indicative of there presents and occurance :huh: . They are only a random event :inocent: . They are treated as personal property and belong to the land owner, and not falling under mineral rights :whaaaa: !! What I don't get is the public lands don't apparently belong to the public anymore and are completely under the control of the bureaucacy we entrust to look after them for us :shrug: ?? I think :hmmmmm: ?? Happy Huntin John B.

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Pardon a newbie for resurrecting this old post.

I'm wondering what's so far fetched about a mining claim for meteorites in a strewn field?

I'm thinking a strewn field is analagous to a gold placer deposit. It's not where the mineral formed, but where it wound up through natural processes. Claims are filed and proved up on placer mine all the time, why not a strewn field? The meteorite wasn't formed there, but wound up there through natural processes and was found, "located", and can then be mined.

Hi EDD270

I think the logic and court case determination is that meteorites are not a locatable mineral :unsure: . Because there is no indicating geology indicative of there presents and occurance :huh: . They are only a random event :inocent: . They are treated as personal property and belong to the land owner, and not falling under mineral rights :whaaaa: !! What I don't get is the public lands don't apparently belong to the public anymore and are completely under the control of the bureaucacy we entrust to look after them for us :shrug: ?? I think :hmmmmm: ?? Happy Huntin John B.

I starting writing and couldn't stop. ;)

Instead of posting the whole thing here and taking up too much room, please read my response to this thread and question here:

http://www.meteoritesusa.com/meteorite-articles/meteorite-law-usa/

Thanks, and I welcome your comments.

Regards,

Eric

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