Wilk’s anti-Cemex bill passes Senate committee

Abandoned equipment stands at the Cemex site in Canyon Country. Dan Watson/The Signal

A bill by Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, that would give the public the opportunity to weigh in on large projects such as the Cemex mega-mine has passed out of its first policy committee.

Senate Bill 520, co-authored by Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, would provide the public a second opportunity to weigh in on large projects approved more than 30 years ago, such as the Cemex project in Soledad Canyon, before those projects could move forward.

“I am happy to report that SB 520 passed out of the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee with unanimous support,” Wilk said in a prepared statement. “The committee agreed that 30 years is more than enough time to reevaluate the impact of Cemex’s mega-mine on the Soledad Canyon community.”

As amended by the committee, SB 520 is set to require the State Water Resources Control Board to provide public notice and hearings to allow for community input before a final decision is made on a water appropriation application for a mining project that has been pending for 30 years from the application’s original filing date.

Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste provided testimony in support of the bill during the hearing, stating that, “This critical piece of legislation will significantly improve the state’s review of long-pending and severely outdated water appropriation applications.”

“Senate Bill 520 strengthens public participation in this process and ensures that members of the public and community stakeholders have an opportunity to have their views presented and considered by the State Water Resources Control Board,” Weste said in the statement. “Additionally, this legislation is critical in protecting groundwater, rivers and tributaries, and some of the state’s most iconic wildlife. I commend Sen. Wilk and express my sincere appreciation for his leadership and perseverance on this very important matter.”

SB 520 is expected to proceed to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration of its fiscal impact in the coming weeks.

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