BLM staff standing besides the entrence to Searles Dry Lake near Ridgecrest, CA.
Searles Lake, California
Many of the items found on the average breakfast table in California, from condiments to place settings to the source that keeps Mom's best linen tablecloth sparkling white, may have originated on Bureau of Land Management (BLM) managed lands. Besides oil, gas, and geothermal resources, BLM is responsible for leasing a number of other important minerals with mostly unfamiliar names that are used by industry and appear in various forms like glass, salt, ceramics, and detergent. Furthermore, Golden State residents through the state treasury reaped the added benefits of half of the $3.7 million in royalties generated by the extraction of these minerals in 2006.
The minerals produced on public lands under this program include borax, soda ash, potash, sodium sulfate, and salt, mostly from Searles Valley Minerals' (SVM) Trona, Westend and Argus facilities at Searles Lake in Inyo and San Bernardino Counties. California's Indian tribes were also recipients of this growing industry. BLM oversees mining operations on tribal lands, which generate royalties from sand and gravel operations in 2012 that go directly to tribal governments. Most of these operations are in the California desert.
Monitoring these leases for product verification and checking compliance to ensure public health and safety and environmental protection continues to be a high priority for BLM. These inspections ensure conservation of federal solid mineral resources and also make sure production records are accurate.
43 CFR 3500
The statutory authority for the leasing of solid minerals other than coal and oil shale, is outlined at 43 CFR 3500.