H.R. 554, The Paleontological Resources Preservation Act (13 comments ↓ | 12 wiki edits: view article ↓)

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H.R. 554 would provide for the protection of paleontological resources on Federal lands.

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jeff smith

April 10, 2008, 12:08pm (report abuse)

i think this bill limits everything too much.

H Brown

June 13, 2008, 10:23pm (report abuse)

This bill is poorly crafted and would allow far to much subjectivity in determination of permitting. Additionally it would allow a lot of misuse and could be interpreted in ways to prohibit all fossil collecting on federal lands. This bill should not ever be allowed to pass. 50,000 rock and fossil collectors will be very unhappy.

Formerly Free

August 26, 2008, 6:31pm (report abuse)

Further erosion of American freedoms, and the very nature of "Public" property. This legislation reaks. Let's hope and pray it dies in committee. There is NO reason why I shouldn't be able to enjoy the freedoms of my youth with my grandchildren. What have all our servicemen died to protect if it hasn't been freedom?

David Mitchell

August 29, 2008, 10:09am (report abuse)

Please vote no on this bill!


September 10, 2008, 7:07am (report abuse)

Write your congressman:

1. Tell them you are a rockhound/amateur collector.

2. Tell them that as the bill stands, anyone can be put in jail for picking up a rock that might look like a fossil to the “untrained eye” of a BLM or Forestry person. This would will result in the confiscation of their vehicle and all equipment and the burden of proof will be on the individual in court of law!. Do these representatives really like the idea of their parents, grandparents or constituents being arrested? Remind them that these people are voters!

3. Amateur collectors have been responsible for many of the finds of important fossils over the years. If the bill is enacted into law, this will stop.

4. Fossils are not renewable. Once fossils are exposed by wind and rain they will disintegrate. Professional paleontologists usually don’t have the time, the money or the staff to checkout paleo sites found by amateurs, but they don’t want us to collect them either.


September 23, 2008, 12:57am (report abuse)

This bill does not effect private land or private collections, as some fear. It does say that rare and scientifically important paleo resources found in the public domain should continue to be the property of all Americans. I understand that "amateur" fossil collectors are worries that it is going to take away their privileges, but it doesn't. It still allows for the collection of common fossil invertebrates and plants on public land, just like you can today. It will make the laws more clear and uniformed as to what can and can't be collected on public land. Do remember: this is not a bill to prohibit the sell of fossils. It does not say that you can not collect and/or sell fossils from private land. The bill is ensuring that fossils in the public sector will remain there for future generations to enjoy. It is trying to encourage partnership between everyone in the paleontology community.


September 24, 2008, 10:14am (report abuse)

This bill only reiterates the current law, really. You must have a permit to collect vertebrate fossils on federal land. A reasonable amount of invertebrates and plants are okay to collect, but you should still let the BLM know your interests when going on federal land to collect. If you have a problem with this bill, then you are probably the kind of person it was written to protect us from.


September 24, 2008, 5:56pm (report abuse)

This bill is a gross misuse of the American tax dollars! Take away an American's right to look for, find, and keep a fossil is like telling a child not to be curious about how life would have been thousands of years ago. Fossil hunters, both young and old alike, are curious and imaginative. We want to see how nature once was in our own ways, not based on how a scientist interprets it. This is what will happen if only scientist are allowed to look for fossils. Scientists have found about 10% of the worlds large fossil sites. The rest have been found by avid fossil hunters like myself. Are we supposed to wait 100,000 years for a Paleontologist to stumble across a fossil before we can imagine how life once was? To hold in your hands, a piece of history that no person has ever seen, is very exciting! If this bill passes, you will have to pay for this experience as if you were at an amusement park panning for gold. The difference is, you would never own it, the BLM would.


September 24, 2008, 8:56pm (report abuse)

Good grief people!! This law does not say anywhere in it that you can not collect fossils!! READ IT!! It only says that you can not collect vertebrate fossil from public lands. You can still collect plants and invertebrates. Heck, you can collect all the vertebrate fossils you want off non-public land. Have a blast. No one is trying to keep little Billy and Suzie from collection fossils. Paleontologist are not the mean bad people hoarding all of the fossils. Please read the bill before you get all worked up.


September 29, 2008, 4:49pm (report abuse)

I agree with JR and RKHF. This bill does not change any laws and will not prevent people from enjoying America's public lands. It is not designed to criminalize the vast majority of law abiding rockhounds and enthusiasts. It is designed to protect our country's resources from greedy treasure seekers who would remove valuable and important specimens from government property, which is already unlawful anyway. As all good paleontologists (amateur or otherwise) already know, a fossil improperly collected is as useless as one that has eroded into sand. Should you be out rockhounding and come across a vertebrate fossil, simply leave it alone, take good notes on its location, and report it to the custodian of the land it is on. Be proud of your contribution to America's public scientific knowledge and your conservation of our natural resources. I am an amateur paleontologist. I am also a US Army veteran of both peacetime and combat, and I fully support this legislation.


October 6, 2008, 12:33pm (report abuse)

The future of paleontology would be very sad if this bill were to become law.


October 7, 2008, 1:24am (report abuse)

Correction: I support JP, not JR.

Also, I challenge those against this bill to describe exactly how it would change legitimate collecting of fossils on public lands.


December 26, 2008, 6:45am (report abuse)

The Arctic Slope of Alaska contains so many vertebrate fossils which have eroded out of permafrost that become subject to loss due to exposure to the elements that it is finally left to the disinterest of the scientific community in general. Few expeditions are enacted to collect specimens that are just not diagnostic enough for salvage. The only resolve that maintains any sense, at least to the vast fossil area of the arctic is to cease a "Police State" mentality and a more effort to work with the scientific community by permits issued to amateur collectors and not just to the scientists. Finally, objects and their locations are shared and more diagnostic discoveries are found while the common ones are left to the collector. The scientific community does not have the funding to adequately cover potentially important "fossil rich" areas.

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