March 16, 2010 — The Lassen Regional Solid Waste Management Authority Board of Directors has approved buying 160 acres of property it currently leases from the Bureau of Land Management for the operation of the Bass Hill Landfill.
Bass Hill Landfill is a 200-acre site. BLM owns 160 acres, and began leasing the property for landfill use in 1973 under the federal Recreation and Public Purposes Act. The county owns the remaining 40 acres of land.
The cost is $10 per acre plus a $100 application fee bringing the total cost to $1,700. Authority manager Tom Valentino said the cost will be budgeted for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
According to Valentino there are several benefits for the authority to own the land.
First, he said “BLM wants to divest themselves of the property because of the liability.”
With the authority owning the land, Valentino said it will be easier to hold events because it won’t have to ask BLM’s permission.
The authority is working on implementing a household hazardous waste program where people can go to the landfill and dispose of common household materials such as paints and pesticides, owning the land will make holding such events more convenient.
Another benefit is when the landfill is no longer able to operate and has to close. Valentino said the authority will be liable for the closure, regardless of who owns the land.
“It makes more sense to have the property in our name,” he said.
Valentino estimated the landfill will remain in operation for at least 15 to 20 years.
In 2003, the authority issued a letter to the BLM requesting a patent be issued and transferring the land to the authority.
Valentino said BLM dropped the issue, but it has now been rekindled.
In a letter to the authority, BLM Field Manager Dayne Barron said, “The Eagle Lake Field Office, BLM supports moving ahead with the patent issuance and proposes issuance of the patent during the 2010 calendar year.”
In 2000, authority counsel Jim Curtis issued a memorandum describing the procedures for public agency purchase of property. Steps include an environmental review prepared in conformance with the California Environmental Quality Act, a determination of conformance with the county general land use plan and a board resolution to purchase the property.
BLM is required to perform an environmental analysis under the National Environmental Policy Act process.
In his notes to the board, Valentino said, “We will work closely with the county community development department staff and BLM staff on the procedures, including incorporating the BLM’s NEPA documentation with the CEQA document, to the extent possible.”
Once the application and fees are submitted, Barron said in the letter that he will direct BLM staff to begin preparing the NEPA analysis and required federal register notices.
The authority also leases land from BLM for the operation of the Herlong Landfill/Transfer Station and the Stones Transfer Station.
Valentino said the authority also plans to purchase those facilities probably in the following year.
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