The Friendly Federation

Founded to Serve

Southeast Federation
of Mineralogical Societies, Inc.


John M. Wright, RPG

AFMS Conservation & Legislation Chairman

February of 2009

  By the time you read this Congress will have been back in session for almost a month and we will have a new President.  I believe we can expect quite a dramatic change in the prevailing attitude in Washington regarding public and even privately owned lands. “Green” is definitely the political “in” and the environmentalists will probably be afforded an unprecedented opportunity to have many of their “dream-world” theories implemented.  We could be looking at a lot of changes that will affect our hobby and while most of them will not happen right away, in the long run they could present us with some real problems.   

 I know that I am still beating on an old drum, but the issue that should probably concern us most is the “Omnibus Land Act” which  also includes  HR554 or S320 “The Palentological Resources Preservation Act” among more than 150  other separate, but equally important issues.  While legislative action on this bill has been delayed it is still very much alive.  Action on this package  is scheduled for later in the legislative session because of other more pressing concerns, but it could be brought to the floor during a lull in proceedings at any time for a vote.  I fully expect an all out effort to get this astronomical “ponzi scheme” pulled on the American people at some point during this legislative session.  

 If enacted into law, The Omnibus Land Act will close or severely restrict access to millions of acres of public land and exercise control over   private property rights in many areas. Thousands of miles of roads, trails, and waterways used for recreation will be closed. It will reduce mining, lumbering, grazing and farm lands, and hamper or eliminate energy exploration in many areas, which will ultimately result in higher prices for consumers.  Many businesses, those in particular  associated with recreational activities, do not realize that severe restrictions are going to be imposed on them and ultimately may even force  them to shut down. The economies of many smaller communities and rural districts will be hurt. It will also establish precedence and procedures for acquiring and controlling many additional vast land areas in the future.

 Most of our members and the general population are unaware of the Omnibus Land Act and its ramifications. The majority of the bills in this package would not be passed if considered individually on their own merit and this sleazy underhanded method of lumping them together and trying to sneak them into law is apparently a rare but true reflection on the character of many of the individuals that we elected to serve and protect our interest.      This  bill is absolutely so ridiculous that it wouldn’t surprise me for them to someday require us to register our “rock-hammers” and tumblers.  

 We can accept these infringements on our lawful rights and learn to live with them, or we can put up a fight and try to stop, change, or repeal these

schemes by letting our representatives know how we feel.  It’s our choice!  Rest assured that our adversaries are letting representatives know their desires.


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