U.S. DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIORBUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
BUREAU OF LAND MANAGEMENT
Washington, DC 20240
September 10, 2012
In Reply Refer To:
8365, 2920, 8100 (240) P
EMS TRANSMISSION 09/12/2012
Instruction Memorandum No. 2012-182
To: All Washington Office and Field Office Officials
From: Assistant Director, Renewable Resources and Planning
Subject: Collection of Meteorites on Public Land
Program Areas: Recreation, Cultural Resources, Lands and Realty, Minerals, Law Enforcement, and the National Landscape Conservation System
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) establishes policy governing the collection of meteorites found on public lands.
Policy/Action: The policy provides guidance to managers for administering the collection of meteorites on public lands in three use categories: casual collection of small quantities without a permit; scientific and educational use by permit under the authority of the Antiquities Act; and commercial collection of meteorites through the issuance of land use permits.
Timeframe: Effective immediately.
Budget Impact: Limited.
Background: Meteorites are natural objects originating in outer space that survive impact with the earth’s surface. The extra-terrestrialorigin of meteorites, as well as their relative rarity,has made them highly desirable to casual collectors, commercial collectors, and scientific researchers. Previously, the BLM has not formally addressed rules regarding collection of meteorites on public lands. However, recent media attention has increased public interest in meteorites as well as confusion about the legality of and limits to casual and commercial collection. Courts have long established that meteorites belong to the owner of the surface estate. Therefore, meteorites found on public lands are part of the BLM’s surface estate, belong to the Federal Government, and must be managed as natural resources in accordance with the FLPMA of 1976.
Meteorites do not meet the definition of a mineral resource under the generalmining and mineral laws. Therefore, mining claims cannot be located for meteorites.
This policy acknowledges a long-established tradition of collecting meteorites by individual hobbyists, but also recognizes that meteorites may be of significant scientific and commercial value. The policy provides direction for managing the resource and affords managers considerable discretion in accommodating demand from several types of collectors.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: None.
Coordination: This policy was coordinated among the BLM’s Division of Recreation and Visitor Services; Division of Cultural, Paleontological Resources and Tribal Consultation; Division of Lands, Realty, and Cadastral Survey; Division of Solid Minerals; the National Landscape Conservation System Division; and BLM’s Office of Law Enforcement and Security.
Contact: For questions regarding application of this policy, please contact Lucia Kuizon, National Paleontologist at (202) 912-7253 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or Frank Jenks, Natural Resources Specialist with the Division of Recreation and Visitor Services at (208) 373-3993, or email@example.com.
Signed by: Authenticated by:
Edwin L. Roberson Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Renewable Resources and Planning