Lawmaker: Ky. official state mineral is a rock, state rock is a mineral

Lawmaker: Ky. official state mineral is a rock, state rock is a mineral
Kentucky's state rock, agate, is actually a mineral.

FRANKFORT, KY (WAVE) - It's something you might have learned in elementary school, but one Kentucky lawmaker said the state has it wrong when it comes to its official rock and mineral, but others said correcting the nomenclature--could have some unintended and expensive consequences.

Representative Al Gentry, (D) Louisville, who discussed the need for change on the floor Friday, said that he's a geologist.

Gentry said the state rock is agate and the state mineral is coal.

The only problem he said is that coal is actually a rock and agate is actually a mineral.

He wants legislation to switch the designation between the two.

He credits the state’s desire to honor coal producers, as what caused the confusion.

“Because even in Kentucky, Mr. Speaker, I am quite certain that a rock is a rock and mineral is a mineral,” Gentry said.

Another legislator on the floor said there may actually be some other unintended consequences, if the designation change passes.

He said the law states people have been taxed for coal on their property designated as a mineral.

So, he’s concerned a change would mean people would want their money back.

Gentry said the argument that taxes will be affected isn’t realistic.

“What we designate as our state rock or mineral has zero impact on any ‘legal’ definition that is applied in laws concerning taxation, in this case, the ‘unmined mineral tax,’” Gentry said. “Whatever legal argument any creative attorney might muster challenging that application of the law, he or she could already do so right now, and the legal basis of that argument would not be affected by what we designate as our recognized rock or mineral. This change simply corrects an error, that, although insignificant to most Kentuckians, can be a bit of an embarrassment to geologists and earth scientists across our state.”

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