An early-October U.S. Supreme Court decision enables Cemex USA to continue permitting a sand & gravel mine with ready mixed plant at Soledad Canyon, a
An early-October U.S. Supreme Court decision enables Cemex USA to continue permitting a sand & gravel mine with ready mixed plant at Soledad Canyon, a site that would join the company’s southern California materials and concrete platform. The court rejected a city of Santa Clarita claim that a 2004 consent decree allowing the project to proceed violates the city’s rights. Reached in U.S. District Court, the consent decree called for Los Angeles County to cease opposing and delaying issuance of approvals for the site, but granted the option of imposing extraordinary environmental and socially beneficial conditions. Cemex affirms commitment to numerous mitigation measures for air and water quality, wildlife protection, and visual issues at Soledad Canyon, where production is scheduled for 2008.
The consent decree stemmed from site development that had begun in 1990 under Transit Mixed Concrete and subsequent owner Southdown Inc., which Cemex acquired in 2000. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management granted Transit Mixed rights to 69 millions tons of sand & gravel reserves on 470 acres at Soledad Canyon. Once operational, the site would carry a permit to produce 1.4 million to 5 million tons annually over a 20-year period, with ultimate mining activity affecting at most 177 acres. The operation would lie on an uninhabited side of a mountain that is at least a mile from any residential dwellings, and hinge on Cemex constructing dedicated ramps to the adjacent California Highway 14.
The ruling confirms the consent decree is proper and consistent with all applicable laws, says Cemex USA President Gilberto Perez. The project has gone through an extensive review process and been granted approvals by the local, state and federal agencies. The Supreme Court’s decision gives us the confidence to move forward with development.
The high court action is the latest setback for Santa Clarita officials, who have dubbed Soledad Canyon the Cemex Mega Mine in a campaign seeking to limit production to what they claim is a historical level of 300,000 tons. (That figure approximates the annual volume that had been extracted without permit by an operator who was shut down in the 1980s.) City propaganda initiatives have included posting of billboards bearing Think Traffic is Bad Now? Just Wait÷ and Broken Windshield Already? Just Wait÷ messages. Santa Clarita officials have also prodded citizens to write letters to California Gov. Arnold Schwartzenegger encouraging him not to visit Cemex’s Monterrey headquarters during an upcoming trade mission to Mexico.