BLM shakeup not likely to affect Cemex appeal of bureau decision

Site of proposed Cemex mine in Soledad Canyon as viewed looking northwest from Soledad Canyon Road. Signal photo by Dan Watson

A shakeup of BLM’s top posts will not likely affect Cemex’s appeal to the bureau’s having rescinded its long-standing permits to mine Soledad Canyon, state and local officials said.

And, a local official expects a decision to made within the year.

On Friday, the Bureau of Land Management announced two key leadership position changes.

BLM veteran Kristin Bail is expected to serve as the agency’s Acting Director upon completion of Director Neil Kornze’s tenure, and Jody L. Hudson was selected as the Assistant Director for Human Capital Management.

Kornze announced he was stepping down last week with the transition of the new administration, and Hudson succeeds Carole Carter-Pfisterer who retired from the BLM last month.

“The project going through appeal with Cemex does not change with the change in administration,” BLM spokeswoman Martha Maciel told The Signal Friday.

“We do not expect any changes,” she said, noting that the federal board reviewing Cemex’s appeal of a BLM decision to pull the company’s existing permits operates independently.

“It’s not unusual for that board to do a thorough, methodical and legal review of the case,” she said.

The Bureau of Land Management threw out Cemex’s mining contracts on Aug. 28, 2015.

Cemex spent last year appealing that decision to the Interior Board of Land Appeals.

Toni Lundeen, docket attorney and counsel to the Interior Board of Land Appeals, told The Signal Friday that no decision has been reached by the board.

It could be another year before a decision is announced by the board’s administrative judges, Santa Clarita’s intergovernmental relations manager, told The Signal Friday. “Our thought is that a decision will be made sometime during 2017,” Murphy said.


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