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SailingAlongToo

Fight Over Dinosaur Fossils Comes Down to "What is a Mineral?"

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DPS Ammonite

The BLM and the Forest Service define and have rules for collecting both rocks/minerals and fossils. A court ruling should not change the rules for the BLM and the Forest Service. Also, fossils by themselves are not a locatable resource unless they are part of another locatable resource such as limestone or coal.  

 

Link to definition of locatable resources.

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MarcoSr
13 hours ago, SailingAlongToo said:

 

Marco,

My 1st thoughts were about M&M and their buddy F. All of the scenarios I can/could imagine are all very bad, expensive and frustrating. I texted them the link but please do pass it on.

 

Cheers,

Jack

 

Jack

 

The M&M ranch is in the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals area so rulings by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals are not binding on the M&M ranch.  However this ruling could spark lawsuits in the other circuits which could use this ruling as a precedent.  When we bought the M&M ranch we made sure there weren't any existing mineral leases on the ranch through title and land records searches.

 

EDIT:  The below map shows what US Circuit each state is in.

 

image.png.b4b3b8d35dbb5055ac6fc51ecc8f00e8.png

 

This decision was by only a 3 judge panel from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals..  This decision could be reviewed and overturned by a full 9th Circuit panel.  It could also at some point be reviewed and overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court.  The 9th Circuit has more decisions overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court than any other Circuit.  In the end I think this decision will be overturned based upon the argument in the dissenting opinion of this case: "Because I disagree with the majority’s conclusion that dinosaur fossils fall within the ordinary and natural meaning of the word “mineral” and that they accordingly pertain to the mineral estate, I respectfully dissent."

 

 

Marco Sr. 

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Oxytropidoceras

This is an interesting legal battle about whether surface rights or mineral rights determines fossil ownership.

 

Fight over dinosaur fossils comes down to what’s a mineral

 By Amy Beth Hanson, AP, Washington Post, November 16, 2018

https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/fight-over-dinosaur-fossils-comes-down-to-whats-a-mineral/2018/11/16/6025a23a-e9e7-11e8-8449-1ff263609a31_story.html

 

The article states:

 

"Ownership of two fossilized dinosaur skeletons found on a 

Montana ranch in 2006 are the subject of a legal battle over

whether they are part of a property’s surface rights or mineral 

rights. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals issued  a split 

decision saying fossils are minerals under mineral rights laws."

Yours,

 

Paul H. 

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Oxytropidoceras

In case of meteorites, would a fall found on the surface be
governed by surface rights and a buried meteorite dug
from the ground be governed by mineral rights? :-)  :-)

 

Yours,

 

Paul H.

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Scylla
On 11/17/2018 at 7:49 PM, SailingAlongToo said:

Did you change my title?  :headscratch::faint:

Sorry, I tried to look for a prior post on this topic before I posted, but I missed yours. :blush: Thanks for catching it Tim. 

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Fossildude19
On 11/17/2018 at 7:49 PM, SailingAlongToo said:

Did you change my title?  :headscratch::faint:

I don't think so. :headscratch:

I just merged the other two posts by Scylla and Oxytropidoceras with yours. 

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DE&i

Is anybody on board with news qouted below. 

 

"There has been a development in the USA where a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in the State of Montana, has reclassified fossils as minerals which now fall under the purview of Mineral Rights, taking their legal ownership from the land or property owner and placing them under the domain of the property's "Mineral Rights" holder. This decision changes the long held legal opinion that allowed ranchers and other property holders the right to allow fossil collecting on their property. The drastic change in established law now puts academic and commercial paleontologist, as well as the casual fossil collector and museum collections, in great peril. If you don't have the permission of the owner of the mineral rights, you cannot take any fossils from privately owned land even if you have the landowner's permission. Even more importantly, if you have fossils from Montana in your possession, you may lose those fossils to the owners of the mineral rights.

If this ruling stands, mineral right holders will be able to file lawsuits to take possession of any fossils collected on land that is privately held. Many museums are in jeopardy of losing important type specimens, and many wonderful fossil specimens that had been legally collected, prepared and sold could be seized and forfeited."

 

Appeals to the decision are being drafted, and the US-based Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences, among other groups and museums want to fight this decision.

Edited by Fossildude19
Remove fundraising links

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DPS Ammonite

Here is the information from AAPS regarding the court ruling and the fight to overturn the ruling. There is also information about how you can help overturn the court ruling:

https://www.aaps.net/newsletter-index.html

 

Here is a great article arguing why mineral rights under Federal Law have never been considered to include most fossils: 

https://aaps.net/documents/Fossils-are-Minerals.pdf

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UtahFossilHunter
50 minutes ago, DPS Ammonite said:

Here is the information from AAPS regarding the court ruling and the fight to overturn the ruling. There is also information about how you can help overturn the court ruling:

https://www.aaps.net/newsletter-index.html

 

Here is a great article arguing why mineral rights under Federal Law have never been considered to include most fossils: Fossils-are-Minerals.pdf

Could you post the link without the automatic paper viewer?

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Fossildude19
1 hour ago, DE&i said:

Is anybody on board with news qouted below. 

 

"There has been a development in the USA where a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Decision in the State of Montana, has reclassified fossils as minerals which now fall under the purview of Mineral Rights, taking their legal ownership from the land or property owner and placing them under the domain of the property's "Mineral Rights" holder. This decision changes the long held legal opinion that allowed ranchers and other property holders the right to allow fossil collecting on their property. The drastic change in established law now puts academic and commercial paleontologist, as well as the casual fossil collector and museum collections, in great peril. If you don't have the permission of the owner of the mineral rights, you cannot take any fossils from privately owned land even if you have the landowner's permission. Even more importantly, if you have fossils from Montana in your possession, you may lose those fossils to the owners of the mineral rights.

If this ruling stands, mineral right holders will be able to file lawsuits to take possession of any fossils collected on land that is privately held. Many museums are in jeopardy of losing important type specimens, and many wonderful fossil specimens that had been legally collected, prepared and sold could be seized and forfeited."

 

Appeals to the decision are being drafted, and the US-based Association of Applied Paleontological Sciences, among other groups and museums want to fight this decision.

Darren, 

 

I have merged your topic with the previous ones already posted.

 

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Abstraktum
20 minutes ago, Troodon said:

451: Unavailable due to legal reasons

We recognize you are attempting to access this website from a country belonging to the European Economic Area (EEA) including the EU which enforces the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and therefore access cannot be granted at this time. For any issues, call 877-509-6397.

 

 

 

:(

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Troodon

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Abstraktum

Very nice! Thank you ^_^

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Pemphix

So as i understood, in Montana everything stays as it was (until further court decisions) ?

What is with others like SD, ND...?

 

 

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Troodon
1 hour ago, Pemphix said:

So as i understood, in Montana everything stays as it was (until further court decisions) ?

What is with others like SD, ND...?

 

 

Yes doubt you will see much else, the initial ruling never made sense and it was not unanimous.  The other states were never affected by the 9th circuit ruling

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CBchiefski

Going to add what I know, and please understand I am not extremely well versed in the law. Just to go over the process for those not aware of the US system. Now that the bill passed the house, it is off to the Senate committee from there, if approved it will go to the full Senate for a vote, if it passes then the governor needs to sign at which point it will be finally law.

The senators I have spoken with expect it to pass and the governor has not yet stated publicly if he will sign but I expect he will support it. The bill only covers fossils within the state of Montana but other states do use what is in place as potential examples. The main reason the bill was needed is that no formal law existed on the books, the prior policy was only based on common law such as the ruling by the 9th court. The bill will not necessarily challenge the 9th court but it very well could be used in a challenge.

As for fossils already discovered and in museums or private collections, there was an amendment made that states the bill will be retroactive as well as proactive. This means that if the bill gets signed into law almost all fossils collected in the past will be protected but there may still be some rare exceptions.

If made law, this will be a huge victory for museums in Montana and our efforts to protect natural history. Plus it helps those amateurs who have collected from land with the typical permission, but not with the additional permission from the owner of the mineral rights.

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Pemphix
18 hours ago, Troodon said:

Yes doubt you will see much else, the initial ruling never made sense and it was not unanimous.  The other states were never affected by the 9th circuit ruling

Thank you for clarification !

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Pemphix
18 hours ago, CBchiefski said:

Going to add what I know, and please understand I am not extremely well versed in the law. Just to go over the process for those not aware of the US system. Now that the bill passed the house, it is off to the Senate committee from there, if approved it will go to the full Senate for a vote, if it passes then the governor needs to sign at which point it will be finally law.

 

The senators I have spoken with expect it to pass and the governor has not yet stated publicly if he will sign but I expect he will support it. The bill only covers fossils within the state of Montana but other states do use what is in place as potential examples. The main reason the bill was needed is that no formal law existed on the books, the prior policy was only based on common law such as the ruling by the 9th court. The bill will not necessarily challenge the 9th court but it very well could be used in a challenge.

 

As for fossils already discovered and in museums or private collections, there was an amendment made that states the bill will be retroactive as well as proactive. This means that if the bill gets signed into law almost all fossils collected in the past will be protected but there may still be some rare exceptions.

 

If made law, this will be a huge victory for museums in Montana and our efforts to protect natural history. Plus it helps those amateurs who have collected from land with the typical permission, but not with the additional permission from the owner of the mineral rights.

 

Thank you for clarification !

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Scylla

Great, so if I understand this correctly then fossils are fossils in all the states except the Western ones in the 9th circut where fossils are now minerals. Montana reinstated fossils as fossils but that is state law (pending). :headscratch:

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HamptonsDoc

This is great news!

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