AF, Sacramento agree on privatized environmental cleanup

  • Published
Air Force and Sacramento County officials recently announced the signing of an agreement allowing for the rapid environmental cleanup and early transfer of property on the former McClellan Air Force Base.

The agreement is the Department of Defense's first that will transfer contaminated land, money and authority to perform environmental cleanup at a National Priority List (Superfund) site.

"The agreement signed by the county of Sacramento and the Air Force is certainly good news," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein. "This is a vital step that will help the county expedite redevelopment of the former McClellan AFB."

"This is a great success for the local community and Sacramento," said Roger Dickinson, the Sacramento county supervisor whose district includes the former McClellan AFB. "Cleaning up contamination faster will bring more jobs to McClellan Park and add to the economic vitality of the Sacramento region."

County and Air Force officials were engaged in negotiations for several years and the signing of the Environmental Services Cooperative Agreement paves the way for the Air Force to transfer land to the county and seamlessly to the developer, McClellan Business Park.

"This agreement is pivotal," said Dexter Cochnauer, a senior representative at the Air Force Real Property Agency, which is responsible for the environmental cleanup of the former McClellan AFB. "McClellan is the first in our nation to sign such an agreement and continues to lead the way showing how to transform a military city into a thriving corporate campus."

This early transfer process, which requires approval of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Environmental Protection Agency, will accelerate cleanup and redevelopment of the former Air Force base years ahead of schedules. The McClellan early transfer partnership includes the Air Force, Sacramento County, the developer, California Department of Toxic Substances Control, Central Valley Regional Water Quality Control Board, and the EPA. McClellan currently has 170 diverse tenants with more than 13,000 employees.

"This agreement is the result of years of hard work and negotiation between the Air Force, the county, and a number of federal and state environmental agencies," Senator Feinstein said. "It illustrates that local communities in California continue to lead the way in redevelopment of former military bases. Much work still remains, but I am hopeful this early transfer will be completed soon."

McClellan AFB, formerly home to the Sacramento Air Logistics Center, was targeted for closure under the 1995 round of the Base Realignment and Closure Act and officially closed July 13, 2001. Currently, McClellan Park is the largest economic development and infill reuse project in Northern California, with a goal of creating more than 35,000 jobs and generating more than $6.6 million per year in local property tax and $1.1 million per year in local sales tax revenues. McClellan is "facility-rich" with about 10 million square-feet of leasable building space, 70 percent of which has already been rented by private and public tenants.