July 1, 2009

BLM finds funds for trash service

By MEGAN GLENN, Staff Writer
Imperial Valley Press

An unidentified quad rider steers past a pile of half-buried trash in the Glamis sand dunes in January. PAUL NILSON FILE PHOTO.

The Bureau of Land Management has identified funds to continue providing trash service at the Imperial Sand Dunes for the 2009-2010 season, assuming that no changes are made to the bureau’s budget, which has yet to be approved by the Senate.

Cathy Kennerson, chief executive officer of the El Centro Chamber of Commerce, said that while working on its budget for this year, the bureau said it recognized the need to continue providing trash service.

“You can’t expect the 1.4 million people who visit the dunes to all clean up every bit of trash,” Kennerson said.

The bureau was unable to provide trash service in February because of budget shortfalls. Imperial County signed an agreement with Allied Waste for $125,000, to provide trash service to finish out last season, which ended in May.

David Briery, a public affairs officer with the bureau, said the money for the October 2009 to May 2010 season is projected come from a combination of state and federal funds.

“It was something the BLM felt they should do,” Briery said about continuing the trash service.

Also, the bureau’s federal funding bill, recently passed by the House of Representatives, includes language inserted by U.S. Rep. Bob Filner to provide for trash services.

The bill increases funding for the entire bureau and includes the statement: “The committee is concerned about the Bureau of Land Management decision to stop trash collection services in the Imperial Sand Dunes Recreation Area … and expects BLM to restore trash pick-up services.”

That bill is now heading toward the Senate for final approval.