The Bureau of Indian Affairs/Dept. of Interior need to approve the new lease: The Campo Landfill sublease between the Campo Band's tribal business corporation, Muht-Hei, Inc., and BLT Enterprises, Inc. of Oxnard, was signed on 12-12-04. Approval of this federal lease is required to be made by the Bureau of Indian Affairs and/or the Department of Interior. The last go around in the 1990's, we succeeded in having the decision for the Mid-American Waste lease kicked up to the Dept. of Interior (see the history page). Eventually, under intense lobbying from Mid-American and their highly paid mouthpieces, Secretary of Interior Babbitt approved that lease.
There is a certified Final Environmental Impact Statement (1992) and a Record of Decision (1993). See the history page for more information on questionable political contributions, federal indictments of previous developer, Mid-American Waste Systems, and a reported plea agreement not to prosecute in Southern California where the Campo Landfill was their only project. Overall, it is our opinion that money, and the political connections of a corrupt developer, played a big role in approval of this controversial project that would most likely have been denied outright were it not proposed for sovereign tribal lands.
US Environmental Protection Agency's AIR PERMIT is no longer required: A federal air permit (New Source Review), which allows construction of the landfill, was previously required. BAD fought hard to stop the original approval in the mid '90's (see history page). BAD did win a federal suit against the USEPA overturning their approval of the Campo Band’s Solid Waste Management Authority. BAD also won several concessions on the Air Permit, but eventually lost the battle. The EPA allowed several extensions of the air permit before it expired again, in July 2004. The EPA now says the permit is no longer required due to a change in the way San Diego's air quality is now measured.
Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS): Due to the fact that the original EIS was well over a decade old when BLT got involved, BAD requested a new Supplemental EIS as required by law. The Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) compiled the SEIS by working with consultants, most of whom are paid by BLT, the landfill developer. The SEIS was then sent to the USEPA for review as a cooperating agency. That review has reportedly been complete for a while. We are not sure why there has been such a lengthy delay in releasing the SEIS to the public. A notice will be placed in the Federal Register, reportedly in December 2009. We have no doubt that the BIA will have no problem rubber-stamping this document without requiring the extra water and geologic studies previously requested by the Army Corps of Engineers, the previous landfill consultant Dames & Moore, the California State Board of Registration for Geologists and Geophysicists, the USEPA, the County of San Diego, the staff for the State Water Resources Control Board, San Diego Professor of Geologic Studies, David Huntley, our elected officials, and more.
California's EPA, Integrated Waste Management Board & State Water Resources Board have a role in reviewing tribal landfill permits: After several years of efforts, in 1991, AB (Assembly Bill) 240 was passed (see history page). AB240 allowed for a volunteer cooperative agreement between the Campo Band and the State of California. Here again, BAD, along with members of other San Diego reservations, battled fiercely for a legitimate agreement allowing full enforcement of state laws by state agencies. Ultimately, after heavy lobbying by Mid-American and organized tribal interests from around the country, a much watered-down agreement was the end result. Intriguingly, the Campo Cooperative Agreement with the state is with their tribal Campo EPA—not with the tribe itself. During deep budget cuts in 2009, Governor Schwarzenegger disbanded the Integrated Waste Management Board, thereby eliminating part of the public review of the Campo Landfill permitting process.
The Campo Band issues their own landfill permits, which are then reviewed by our state agencies for "functional equivalency". The Campo Band split the permit process in two. Their Authority to Construct permit has been through one review process and was approved with conditions (see history page - what a joke). The Permit To Operate will need to be released and undergo state review. That has not happened to date. BAD challenged the inadequate Authority to Construct Permit in state court and agreed to hold off pending the review of the Permit To Operate. We are still waiting for our day in court. BAD will definitely have to pay a big price to put our legal resources to work, again, to protect the off-reservation community's interests. At the same time, our tax dollars pay for state and federal review for the Campo Landfill, and BLT Enterprises shoulders the rest of the expenses.
The Regional Water Quality Control Board has so far declined to review the SEIS for the Campo Landfill claiming they do not have the authority or funding.
The Campo Band pays nothing for all of this, and has received payments off and on from various developers during the 20-year process. It is our understanding that the Campo Band made at least $10 million in advance royalty payments from Mid-American Waste Systems before they were defaulted for not complying with their contract. We are not sure what profits the tribe has accumulated with their BLT or other agreements.
San Diego County's updated Integrated Waste Management Plan & Siting Element excludes the Campo Landfill: State law AB949 (1989) requires all counties in California to comply with certain waste reduction requirements, and recycling programs, by certain time lines. It also requires counties to develop their own Integrated Waste Management Plans and Siting Elements. Every 5 years, plan updates are required to show the State that each waste plan has disposal capacity for the next 15 years. Specific disposal sites, permitted capacity and tonnage all need to be documented. On January 5, 2005, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors approved the required 5-year update of their waste management plan and siting element. In 2003, after an educational campaign by BAD and Supervisor Dianne Jacob, the Campo Landfill was purposely excluded from the final draft, which was approved by the required majority of the 18 cities of San Diego County and the California Integrated Waste Management Board. The Campo Landfill is considered an "out-of-state" site and has not been supported by the County or cities in the region. To review the plan go to www.sdcdpw.org/siting. Another update is due in 2010.