Anti-CEMEX bill heads to Senate floor

State Sen. Scott Wilk (pictured) and other local legislators reconvened Monday for a second year of their two-year session in Sacramento. Courtesy of Scott Wilk

State Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, received unanimous and bipartisan support from his Senate colleagues in the Appropriations Committee for Senate Bill 520, which he coauthored with Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita. 

The bill allows the public to comment on large mining projects — like the proposed CEMEX sand and gravel mine in Soledad Canyon, which had its water-appropriation permit application filed with the State Water Resources Control Board more than 30 years ago — before the board reaches a decision on the application. 

The bill’s next stop is the Senate floor, where Wilk will present his legislation to the full Senate. 

“The Senate Appropriations Committee recognized that the bill would have minimal and absorbable costs to the state, while providing an immense benefit for communities that will be impacted by proposed large mining operations,” Wilk said in a prepared statement.  

Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste testified in support of the bill before the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, where the bill also received unanimous support. 

In 2019, the State Water Resources Control Board changed the status of CEMEX’s 1991 application from “pending” to “on hold” due to longstanding litigation on the project. 

“Should the application be reactivated, the time period for filing protests has long passed,” according to a statement from Wilk’s office. “As dynamics of water availability have changed significantly for the state as a whole due to climate change and more frequent droughts, SB 520 allows community members to provide current hydrological data to the board as to the impact the project will have on their water supply.”  

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