Council to check in on state anti-Cemex bill

CEMEX property as viewed looking north east from Soledad Canyon Road in Santa Clarita in 2014.

The City Council on Tuesday night is set to vote on whether to support a bill authored by state Sen. Scott Wilk that’s designed to keep the Mexican mining giant Cemex from opening operations in Soledad Canyon.

The matter is expected to pass, as Cemex has long been opposed by Santa Clarita officials at all levels. What’s more, Wilk’s bill has bi-partisan support in the state Legislature.

Wilk is a Republican representing parts of Santa Clarita. State Sen. Henry Stern, a Democrat who also represents Santa Clarita, is a co-sponsor of the bill.

The bill – now called SB 146 – would require that the State Water Resources Control Board reopen any cases that have been pending for at least 25 years, and reconsider water-rights issues.

While the future of the sand and gravel mining operation rests in the hands of a federal-court panel, Wilk’s bill would offer a legal loophole designed to put one aspect within local control.Cemex, if it begins operations, would draw about 105 million gallons of water annually from the Santa Clara River.The federal Bureau of Land Management has terminated two contracts with Cemex, but that decision is under appeal.

In another matter on Tuesday, the Council will vote on a resolution declaring that, “Santa Clarita believes that diversity is a critical component of a thriving, successful city, and that commitment to diversity strengthens communities, deepens bonds between neighbors, and underlies the welcoming environment that makes Santa Clarita a great community.’’

Though only a symbolic gesture, the resolution, proposed by Councilman Bob Kellar, was urged in recent Council meetings by several residents in the wake of what they said were increased instances of intolerance, locally as well as nationally, during the presidential campaign and after the election of Donald Trump.


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