The State Water Resources Control Board has yet to decide whether to hold a hearing on Cemex’s application to use water from the Santa Clara River, or when they will re-notice the application, water officials reported Friday.
The agency confirmed last week it would re-notice the application and sent a letter to Cemex’s counsel that stated officials would not reconsider their decision to notice the application.
“The state water board has not determined whether to hold a hearing regarding the Cemex water right permit application. The next step in processing the application is to re-notice the application,” according to an email from Ailene Voisin, information officer for the state water board. “The noticing period, once commenced, will be a 40-day period where the public has an opportunity to file protests against the application.”
The date of the noticing period has yet to be announced, according to water officials, but state Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, said this past week he was confident the state water board would “do the right thing” and publicly notice the application.
Wilk and Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo, D-Chatsworth, have co-authored a bill intending to force the state water board to notice any application for permits older than 30 years old, which would apply to the Cemex application.
“Hopefully, the board makes the right decision and allows the public an opportunity to weigh in,” Wilk said Wednesday in a phone interview, adding the project is clearly not the right fit for the community. He also questioned whether a project that size at that location was really appropriate back in 1990, let alone 2023, and added the public has not yet had enough of a chance to talk about its concerns over the mine.
Water officials did confirm last week the date of the re-notice would “likely occur in the next several months” and that the public can sign up for updates at waterboards.ca.gov/resources/email_subscriptions.
“Other procedural steps follow the re-noticing process, including technical analysis and processing of any additional protests received during public noticing,” Voisin wrote. “The state water board has not determined whether to hold a hearing regarding the Cemex water right permit application. Hearings on water right permit applications generally occur as a final step in processing of an application. The processing time for water right permit applications is highly variable depending on a number of factors.”
Water officials said there was no average time length for such a process because “each water permit application is unique.”