The term “casual collecting” means the collecting of a reasonable amount of common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources for non-commercial personal use, either by surface collection or the use of non-powered hand tools resulting in only negligible disturbance to the Earth’s surface and other resources. As used in this paragraph, the terms “reasonable amount”, “common invertebrate and plant paleontological resources” and “negligible disturbance” shall be determined by the Secretary. [Note: Reference to the “Secretary” should be read as to either the Secretary of the Interior or the Secretary of Agriculture, depending upon the federal lands involved.]
is designed to end amateur fossil collecting (of any kind) on all Federal Forest Lands.
The Department [of Agriculture] considers that in establishing the term “casual collection” [sic – the term actually established in law is “casual collecting”] rather than “amateur collection” or “recreational collection”, the Act intended that casual collection reflect the commonplace meaning of “casual”. The commonplace definition of casual includes the elements “happening by chance; not planned or expected”, “done without much thought, effort, or concern”, and “occurring without regularity” (“casual” Merriam-Webster.com. 2014. (4 March 2014)). (Federal Register, April 17, 2015, p. 21594.)The Section-by-Section goes on to state
Consequently, the Department considers that casual collecting would generally be happenstance without intentional planning or preparation. Development of criteria for reasonable amount and negligible disturbance reflects, in part, the view of casual collecting as an activity that generally occurs by chance without planning or preparation. (p. 21594)Wait, wait. In light of my idea of what an amateur paleontologist does in pursuit of fossils, we may be screwed. Often, we plan, go into the field prepared, and are deliberate in our actions. But, and it’s a sizeable but, none of the language in this Section-by-Section Explanation appeared in the proposed regulations in 2013 and their accompanying text. So, it, essentially, appears out of nowhere and was not subject to any public comment. Further, and very significantly, the law already defines what constitutes “casual collecting” and the legal elements are (1) collecting “a reasonable amount of common invertebrate and plant” fossils, (2) collecting for “non-commercial personal use,” and (3) collecting from the surface of the land or by means of “non-powered hand tools” without creating more than a “negligible disturbance to the Earth’s surface and other resources.” That’s it, period.
The best sense is the one that most aptly fits the context of an actual genuine utterance. (p. 12a)
The bill acknowledges the value of amateur collecting and provides an exception for casual collection of invertebrate fossils, but protects vertebrate fossils found on Federal lands under a system of permits. (Congressional Record, February 2, 2005, p. S891.)
One exception to the permitting requirements under S. 546 is for casual collection of certain paleontological resources for personal, scientific, educational and recreational uses. This important provision would authorize the Secretary to allow the public to casually collect common invertebrate and plant fossils without a permit on certain federal lands. In other words, under this bill, visitors to BLM [Bureau of Land Management] lands who enjoy paleontology as a hobby could continue to collect and keep for their personal use a wide variety of plant and common invertebrate fossils. The casual collection of such fossils can be an important component of the public’s enjoyment of some federal lands and is generally consistent with scientific and educational goals. (p. 6)
Their purpose of giving readers and speakers approximate meanings of words so that they begin to understand the meaning of the word in context makes dictionaries ill-suited for determining the meaning of a particular word in a particular statute. (p. 334)
A sandwich does not have to have two slices of bread; it can have more than two (a club sandwich) and it can have just one (an open-faced sandwich). The slices of bread do not have to be thin, and the layer between them does not have to be thin either. The slices do not have to be slices of bread: a hamburger is regarded as a sandwich, and also a hot dog – and some people regard tacos and burritos as sandwiches, and a quesadilla is even more sandwich-like. Dictionaries are mazes in which judges are soon lost. A dictionary-centered textualism is hopeless. (Emphasis added.)