Criminalizing Geology

A law in the state of Wyoming makes it illegal to sample, photograph, or even make written observations about a piece of land that belongs to someone else – if the information will be sent to any government agency, state or federal. Presumably, the 8-year-old in the back seat, randomly snapping pictures enroute to Yellowstone, is exempt. So who is this law targeting? It will stop anyone wanting to submit photos or samples of pollution dumped into streams or rivers which cross private property from accurately reporting such misdeeds. This should be a bone to mining companies, heavy supporters of politics in Dick Cheney’s home state.

The Grumpy Geophysicist

Yep, the New York Times notes that, among other odd state laws, that Wyoming has enacted a law that “makes it a crime to take photographs of or make written observations about a piece of land that belongs to someone else.” While the Times includes it in a collection of kind of humorous laws, Slate has a piece that outlines just how pernicious this bill really is (the assertion in that piece is that this is to discourage collection of any data that would be used to invoke the Clean Water Act).

You can read the law yourself.  Basically it outlaws, among other things, geologic mapping in the state as you cannot

…take a sample of material, acquire, gather, photograph or otherwise preserve information in any form from open land which is submitted or intended to be submitted to any agency of the state or federal government.

So watch…

View original post 36 more words

About Ron Miksha

Ron Miksha is a bee ecologist working at the University of Calgary. He is also a geophysicist and does a bit of science writing and blogging. Ron has worked as a radio broadcaster, a beekeeper, and Earth scientist. (Ask him about seismic waves.) He's based in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
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