April 19, 2013
Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) introduced a bill on Thursday to block the proposed Cemex sand and gravel mine in Canyon Country, the Santa Clarita Valley Signal reported.
The Cemex mine would extract 56 million tons of sand and gravel from the canyon over 20 years.
The Soledad Canyon Settlement Act proposes a land-swap deal in exchange for Cemex’s contracts for the mine and would prevent any future mining on the site by directing the federal Bureau of Land Management to cancel Cemex’s sand and gravel mining leases.
The legislation would also have the bureau sell land for money to compensate Cemex for the canceled contracts. The bill adds that the compensation cannot amount to more than the revenue actually generated from the sale of the land.
However, Cemex spokesperson Sara Engdahl said the bill needs to go more in-depth.
“The bill introduced by (Boxer) today does not fully take into account the compensation that Cemex is legally entitled to in the event its contracts with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management are canceled,” Engdahl said.
Due to concerns about pollution, local agencies have been working to block the mine for 20 years, since Cemex won the mining contracts. Cemex has waited for years for Congress to provide an alternative to opening the mine, but nothing has been passed.
Michael Murphy, intergovernmental relations officer for Santa Clarita, said the bill may serve as a “beginning point for substantive discussions.”
This is not Boxer’s first introduction of this time of bill, nor is it her first attempt at introducing this particular bill. Boxer tried to have the bill introduced last session, but an earmark ban–which has been renewed for the current session–prohibited it.
Alissa McCurley, a spokeswoman for the Santa Clarita Valley Republican, said McKeon’s office is reviewing the bill, but would still need to find a way around the earmark ban.