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Forbidden Data - Wyoming just criminalized citizen science.


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#1 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • San Diego, CA

Posted 11 May 2015 - 09:50 PM

This is scary stuff.  It's similar to the laws that make it illegal to document animal abuse inside CAFOs.

 

http://www.slate.com...h_all_dt_tw_top



#2 mattknepley

mattknepley
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  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 12 May 2015 - 05:40 AM

This stuff is so insulting to intelligence and humanity that naive little me is still shocked when I hear it. Back in the late 1990s certain powers in West Virginia pushed to pass and enact legislation that would have granted businesses freedom from having to report hazardous/damaging environmental conditions as long as they monitored themselves and addressed the problems. (An unfortunate little drinking water problem a little bit ago shows how well that would have worked...) It was a matter of pride for me that the citizens of the Mountain State stood up and shot that down. (Whether or not a similar notion was brought to bear in the 20 years since I was there, I do not know.)

The lawyer writing this editorial (I am glad to have them working for "us", but they are still promoting their own practice with this piece.) makes a good point at the beginning and at the end. First, that Wyoming isn't going to direct this at Project Feeder Watchers and other volunteer citizen scientists. Enforcement to that level is pointless to them, probably self-destructive to aim of the law, as it would rapidly increase attention. This is really directed at people with a little more knowledge and insight than the average Jane and Joe. Also, as presented, this law is unconstitutional; but as the lawyer intimates, unconstitutionality doesn't mean squat if the federal legislative branch doesn't want to do something about it.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."

#3 Matt DeLaVega

Matt DeLaVega
  • Forum Staff
  • Ohio

Posted 12 May 2015 - 07:22 AM

This would be one of the very few instances when I am not an advocate of states rights.


The member formerly known as Skipjack


#4 BenCantrell

BenCantrell
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  • San Diego, CA

Posted 12 May 2015 - 07:59 AM

It caught my attention because a group in Illinois called RiverWatch is training citizens to monitor bodies of water around the state.  They took baseline measurements of Sandy Creek before the CAFO goes into operation (they're currently constructing the facility).

 

http://www.ngrrec.org/riverwatch/

 

https://www.facebook...erWatch?fref=ts

 

And you're right, of course they won't go after bird watchers or casual tourists.  They're going to keep this law in their back pocket to go after the whistleblowers who would expose their bad practices.



#5 mattknepley

mattknepley
  • NANFA Member
  • Smack-dab between the Savannah and the Saluda.

Posted 12 May 2015 - 07:03 PM

edit: I should have said executive branch; the legislative already passed laws making the Constitution the supreme law of the land, the executive has moved to enforce those decisions, and the judicial has validated the actions. The judicial can only wait for cases to come to it, which has started. Executive pressure/action would add weight to citizen concerns. I'd like to see Obama earn that darter honor he got.
Matt Knepley
"No thanks, a third of a gopher would merely arouse my appetite..."



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