Lawmakers are trying to protect fossilized dinosaurs

BOSTON (WWLP) — Dinosaurs once roamed the ancient mudflats of the Connecticut River Valley. State lawmakers told 22News how they want to preserve the artifacts buried in western Massachusetts.

The Connecticut River Valley is home to hundreds of fossilized dinosaur footprints and state lawmakers want to prevent them from being stolen.

The Legislature's Environment Committee reported a bill out favorably that creates a special commission that will evaluate ways to strengthen laws to protect archaeological resources. 

Northampton State Representative Peter Kocot filed the bill after environmental police caught people excavating and selling raptor footprints taken from state property. Those individuals were fined less than $500.

“These penalties were tiny,” said Rep. Kocot. “So there was no incentive not to take these things by some people.”

Rep. Anne Gobi, (D) Spencer, told 22News, “It would allow that commission actually to be able to accept donations that could be used, then to help preserve those gems that we have here in the Commonwealth.”

Rep. Kocot says his bill also aims to protect artifacts left by Native American tribes who used the Connecticut River Valley as a travel route in the 16th Century.

Copyright 2014 WWLP TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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