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U.S. Ecology could close without expansion

BEATTY — U.S. Ecology will have to close its facility near here if it’s unable to expand in the near future, General Manager Bob Marchand said Wednesday.

Marchand attended the Nye County Commission meeting in Tonopah Tuesday but his comments weren’t necessary. Commissioners approved a letter to the U.S. Bureau of Land Management requesting an expedited action on the state’s application to acquire additional federal land.

“We have recently completed the last phase of our current disposal site, which utilizes the whole 80 acres we use from the state of Nevada,” Marchand said. “The state of Nevada is seeking the release of a 400-acre buffer zone.”

The buffer zone has been in place since U.S. Ecology opened in 1962; Marchand said it has been owned by the BLM and leased to the state. But there can be no more waste disposal facilities on leased land. He said it would have to be owned by the state.

“If that doesn’t happen, we would have no choice but to close,” Marchand said.

The county letter asks for the land transfer to be included in the resource management plan being prepared by the Southern Nevada BLM district. A draft of that RMP is scheduled to be released this spring, but a final version probably won’t be approved until 2015. Marchand said that revision may not happen soon enough, though he estimated they have a little less than five years capacity left.

“US Ecology is a significant contributor to the economy of Nye County and the state,” the county’s letter states. “This state managed site has operated safely and in compliance with all regulations and with local and county support for over 50 years.”

US Ecology pays fees to the state for hazardous waste that comes into the facility, about 11 miles south of Beatty off Highway 95.

The state petitioned the BLM for the full 400 acres. It extends about 1,150 feet in every direction from the facility.

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