California Wants to Get Rid of Its State Rock

There's a sneaky bill that has just passed the California State Senate and is awaiting a vote in the Assembly, and it's really rocking geologists' boat:

Empirically speaking, geologists are not a particularly irascible group. But those who make their living studying rocks, minerals and gems in California — and increasingly those scientists beyond the state’s borders — are enraged over a bill in Sacramento that would knock serpentine, the official state rock, off its mantel.

The lawmaker and others who would like to see serpentine stripped of its title say the olive green rock found all over the state is a grim symbol of the deadly cancers associated with asbestos, which can be found in the rock. Geologists, who have taken to Twitter on behalf of the rock, assert that serpentine is harmless and is being demonized by advocates for people with asbestos-related diseases and possibly their trial lawyers, too.

State Senator Gloria Romero who authored the bill has this to say, "California is health conscious," she said. "This is not about being anti-rock. But why do we need a rock?"

Jennifer Steinhauer of the New York Times has the scoop: Link (Photo: Monica Almeida/NY Times)

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Never mind that the budget hasn't passed and that state employees are facing federal minimum wage and that the economy of the state is circling the toilet, our legislators always have the best interests of Californians in mind.
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Hah, WI just recently had a "re-declaration" of our state soil- Antigo Silt Loam...not that anyone actually paid attention it (besides the farmers that pushed the ceremony). Our soil probably causes more cancer than that rock ever has, just by the nature of being, well, dirt. Dirt gets weird things in it, retains the weird things, causes cancer 30 years later.

I have a polished serpentine rock in my bedroom...I'm suddenly tempted to go lick it.
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It's good to know that California has its priorities in order and is tackling this above all. I think the giant fault line you have running through that state might be a wee bit more important to monitor if the pols are suddenly taking an interest in geology.
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