[meteorite-list] New BLM Rules
From: Count Deiro <countdeiro_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2012 22:32:04 -0400 (EDT)
Hi Jim and All,
Remember "Old Woman"? Well, Jim, The main mass is sitting on display in the Bureau of Land Management's administrative building lobby in Barstow, California and the intrepid hunters who found it are off somewhere sucking eggs.
I'm going to make a prediction, and back my mouth up with a reward, that no individual member of this List will obtain, under the BLM regulations as published September 10, 2012, a permit for the "commercial collection" of meteorites from a specified parcel of Federally managed land.
I will give a minimum 500 gram oriented and regmaglypted individual Canyon Diablo meteorite to the individual Listee who obtains the first such permit. The permit must be obtained within a year of this posting.
>From: Galactic Stone & Ironworks <meteoritemike at gmail.com>
>Sent: Sep 21, 2012 12:36 PM
>To: Jim Wooddell <jimwooddell at gmail.com>
>Cc: Meteorite List <meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com>
>Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] New BLM Rules
>Hi Jim and List,
>I think your estimate of 50 professional meteorite hunters in the USA
>is very generous. I would wager it's even less. The majority of the
>professional hunters are members of this List. Granted, not all of
>them post regularly, but the major hunters are well-known. I can
>count them on two hands and have a couple fingers left over.
>I guess one could define "professional meteorite hunter" as someone
>who files taxes and lists their profession on the forms as such. How
>many people actually earn a sustainable living solely from hunting and
>finding meteorites? Maybe a dozen.
>Someone who goes out into the field for the purpose of finding
>meteorites, and finds some, and then sells a few is not necessarily a
>commercial or professional hunter. Just because somebody sells the
>occasional specimen on eBay does not mean they are making a profit,
>nor does it mean they are a commercial vendor in the commonly-accepted
>definition of the term.
>The bonafide pro meteorite hunters reading this can testify that
>making a profit is hit and miss at best. Most of the time these
>hunters go out into the field, spend a ton of money in expenses, and
>come home empty-handed. I know a few people who flew out to Sutter's
>Mill and spent weeks beating the bush and they didn't find a single
>fragment. If they find a small frag on the last day of hunting and
>sell it, does that make that person a professional hunter? Even if
>they lost thousands of dollars in expenses on the trip and don't sell
>another find for years or more?
>This new regulation is not needed. This is hitting a gnat with a
>sledgehammer, or shooting a rabbit with a bazooka. The government
>(fed, state, or local) should always err on the side of refraining
>from new legislation. Of course, as we know, governments rarely do
>that. The cat is out the bag about the value of meteorites, and the
>government has tunnel vision - all the bureaucrats are hearing are
>things like :
>"A thousand dollars per gram..."
>"Million dollar meteorite..."
>And that is all the government cares about. It is up to the meteorite
>community to stand up and educate them about the truth of the matter -
>sure, there are meteorites that are "worth" a million dollars or more.
> But how many have ever sold for any price approaching that extreme?
>Take the recent offer of the NWA 5000 main mass for example. It's a
>staggering specimen of unequaled girth, aesthetics, and importance.
>It's a moon rock the size of a soccerball for crying out loud. Of
>course it's "worth" more than a million dollars and maybe 10 million
>or more. But, will it ever sell for that amount of money? Most
>likely not. I'm sure Adam and Greg wouldn't mind if it did, and I
>wish them the best of luck with it, but I'll get hit in the head with
>a new Martian hammer fall before someone will pay $10 million for a
>Take the recent media story about the $380,000 lunar meteorite (DaG
>1058) for sale at Heritage. The opening bid is $180,000, or almost
>$1000 per gram, for a 1815g stone. When is the last time someone paid
>a per-gram price like that for a stone of that size? The unwritten
>rule of the meteorite market is - the smaller the specimen, the bigger
>the per-gram price is. Conversely, the bigger the specimen, the
>smaller the per-gram price is. Has any professional dealer reading
>this ever sold a lunar larger than 1000g for $1000 per gram? I doubt
>---> (Trust me, this going back to government regulating meteorites.)
>Even if a whale of a collector came along and paid $20 million for a
>meteorite, that would probably be a singular event and would never be
>repeated in our lifetimes. Heck, if I win the powerball lottery, I'm
>gonna buy a slab of pallasite the size of a coffee table, but the
>government should not judge a "commodity" market based on sales that
>The government should stay out of the meteorite business. Meteorites
>are not just another collectible or commodity. Scientists are not
>clamoring to study gold bars or baseball cards. Meteorites are
>valuable far beyond their monetary worth. They can unlock for us the
>mysteries of the cosmos and creation. They are the very building
>blocks of every planet in the solar system, including Earth. Their
>importance to science is vast, and due to the circumstances
>surrounding meteorite hunting, science benefits from collaboration
>with private individuals.
>Let's face it, private meteorite hunters have a skillset that eludes
>most people and they have the FREEDOM to go out and recover stones at
>will without the need to file paperwork in triplicate beforehand.
>They can reach a new fall faster than anyone else, including the
>government. And they can recover stones with the best of the
>"officially-sanctioned" hunters working on scientific or institutional
>expeditions. Take one of the most experienced meteorite hunters on
>this List and send him/her on the next ANSMET expedition. I would
>wager my money that private hunter will score more finds than the most
>eagle-eyed grad student : no offense to those good grad students out
>there doing exciting and important work. (I envy them.)
>Finding meteorites involves a ton of hard work, countless miles of
>walking outside in the elements, visiting dangerous remote locales,
>and a substantial financial investment. By adding additional
>bureaucratic hurdles to this work, the US government is going down the
>same road that Australia took - and look where it got them.
>(plummeting recovery rates)
>The scientists have a stake in this and they have the respectability
>to make their voices heard if they join the fray and weigh in to the
>authorities on the side of deregulation. The collectors and dealers
>can do the same. Maybe if the people in charge hear the message
>loudly and coming at them from multiple fronts, then maybe the
>authorities will listen. (IMCA maybe?)
>If nothing is done, then this new BLM rule is just the beginning.
>Web - http://www.galactic-stone.com
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>On 9/21/12, Jim Wooddell <jimwooddell at gmail.com> wrote:
>> To the best of my knowledge and from my point of view, the federal
>> government has never impeded the recovery of meteorites. People have
>> always assumed 25 pounds per day based on other rules. No one really
>> had any issue. There has always been internet chatter about whether
>> it was legal or not, stories that could not be proved. Everyone knew
>> at anytime they could be challenged in regards to ownership (and still
>> can be).
>> So, to say more, not less, is not really correct.
>> These new rules did clarify the detector use issue.
>> So, a question begs..... How many professional meteorite hunters are
>> in the USA that actively hunt for profit??? I can count the ones I
>> know on my hands. How many showed up to the recent fall, Battle
>> Mountain? According the nice report from Larry Atkins, what was
>> it...about 16 people total? So the BLM is doing this for a few
>> handfuls of people! At it's best it is silly and an absolute waste of
>> taxpayer money. I am guessing there are less than 200 "professional"
>> hunters in the USA and the real number is probably less than 50.
>> To think this is an issue that derserves national action is nuts.
>> They can not enforce the rules they have now clearly, and they are
>> just piling on more oppressive rules they can not enforce! And if
>> they nail the wrong guy, it would go to the highest court of the land
>> and likely get thrown out.
>> The Old Women case was a joke and not handled well at all by the defense.
>> Kind regards!
>> On Fri, Sep 21, 2012 at 8:18 AM, Peter Scherff <peterscherff at rcn.com>
>>> My understanding of meteorite ownership law in the USA is that
>>> meteorite belongs to the land owner. In the Old Woman case the government
>>> exercised its right to meteorites found on government land. Meteorite
>>> hunters have been lucky that the government has not claimed all finds. I
>>> think that the government would have been within the law to do so. So
>>> new rule gives meteorite hunters an clear right to keep the meteorites
>>> find (up to 10 pounds). This rule gives meteorite hunters more not less
>>> rights. It all depends on your point of view.
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com
>>> [mailto:meteorite-list-bounces at meteoritecentral.com] On Behalf Of Jeff
>>> Sent: Thursday, September 20, 2012 7:06 PM
>>> To: meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
>>> Subject: Re: [meteorite-list] New BLM Rules
>>> For those of you who don't know, I contribute to this list as a private
>>> citizen, but I work at NASA headquarters, with duties that extend to
>>> oversight of curation and research programs. I will be reading all posts
>>> the list pertaining to this issue.
>>> On 9/20/2012 6:37 PM, Jim Wooddell wrote:
>>>> I have been in communications with the BLM on and off all day. Art,
>>>> thank for the HTML reminder as I have been trying to post all day and
>>>> thought I had this set correctly!
>>>> Here is the first response:
>>>> Dear Mr. Wooddell: The application fee is dependent on the time it
>>>> takes for BLM to process the project proposal in the application. This
>>>> would be determined by the field office manager after the application
>>>> is submitted and reviewed. These fees would be estimated for you prior
>>>> to the processing of the application, and would include monitoring
>>>> fees as well. The permit application/ permit is 2920-1 attached; fees
>>>> would be on page 2 when a permit is issued. Some examples of what the
>>>> fees would be can be found on the following web site and one example
>>>> is attached. http://www.blm.gov/wo/st/en/prog/more/lands.html You
>>>> mentioned a "nation-wide" permit in your email. BLM issues permits on
>>>> a local level, and at maximum could be on a state-wide level, for
>>>> lands that we administer in the Western States. Thank you,Lucia Kuizon
>>>> I am not going to post their second response but they are now aware of
>>>> some issues that may or may not change the wording.
>>>> I feel it is imperative for NASA to reach out and support hunters on
>>>> this issue in regards to the need to hunt fresh falls immediately,
>>>> without delay of some permit process. While they are claiming media
>>>> sparked this, most of us knew it was coming, just did not know when or
>>>> how the wording would be.
>>>> The current fee structure is twofold. 1. The application / permit.
>>>> 2. The monitoring fee. Currently the fees will range from ~$100 to
>>>> ~$1100 for commercial hunters....those seeking profit. This is based
>>>> on their current cost recovery methods. I have both the application
>>>> and the fee schedule as example based on the above response. If
>>>> anyone wants them shoot me a private email.
>>>> The big issue for hunters is that this will be based on a regional
>>>> level where each district supervisor may or may not have special
>>>> conditions, etc. Bottom line is that it will be required to have
>>>> permits in different hunting areas and could greatly increase overhead
>>>> for professional hunters. If hunters have to wait for a permit
>>>> process during a meteor event that produces meteorites, I feel science
>>> Visit the Archives at
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>>> Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
>>> Visit the Archives at
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>>> Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
>> Jim Wooddell
>> jimwooddell at gmail.com
>> Visit the Archives at
>> Meteorite-list mailing list
>> Meteorite-list at meteoritecentral.com
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Received on Fri 21 Sep 2012 10:32:04 PM PDT