If you’re a resident of Santa Clarita, it’s likely that you have heard of the Cemex mine project. Recently, a bipartisan effort by our state Sen. Scott Wilk and our Assemblywoman Pilar Schiavo delivered a victory to fight back against this project.
I want to commend both the assemblywoman and senator for their success, and for showing us how electing people who will put our community first — rather than those who get into partisan fights and cater to extremism — can bring solutions to the biggest challenges we face.
For some context, the Cemex corporation is proposing a project just to the east of Santa Clarita. The project can mine up to 69.2 million tons of sand and gravel in order to produce a total of 56.1 million tons of product, which could include blasting for the vast majority of the daytime hours and disturbing up to 177 acres and all of the noise, dust, and pollution that comes along with it.
There is no doubt that the pollution caused by the type, size, and scope of a project this size would have negative effects on the health of local residents.
All of these reasons and more are why our community has largely opposed this project since the 1990s when it was first proposed. And now that decades have passed since its initial proposal, the community remains strongly opposed, especially since so much has changed over the last decades. We have been doing all we can to express this opposition, but without legislative action we have been left screaming with no way to hold Cemex accountable or change the outcome.
This legislative session, Wilk (a Republican) and Schiavo (a Democrat) joined forces to bring back a bill that had been attempted in years prior. Their bill — Assembly Bill 1631 — stated that if the State Water Resources Control Board has not rendered a final determination on an application for a permit to appropriate water for uses, including mining, within 30 years from the date the application was filed, the board would be required to issue a new notice and provide an opportunity for protests before rendering a final determination, with specified exceptions.
What does this mean exactly? It means that if the bipartisan effort was successful, our community would have a voice in whether this project moves forward.
That’s exactly why so many were celebrating when it was announced that the bill brought by our local electeds compelled the State Water Board to take the action outlined in the bill, which will now give the public a chance to share their position on the community impact of the Cemex mine.
To me, this is more than just a victory for our community. This shows what can happen when our state elected leaders rise above partisanship and prioritize what’s in the best interest of our community first.
We have seen both locally and nationally how harmful it can be when our elected leaders prioritize politics as usual rather than looking for common ground and seeking solutions that benefit our entire local community.
Let’s continue looking for common ground and shared goals that all of us living here can get behind. Kudos to our state electeds on a job well done.
Kipp Mueller is a Canyon Country resident and candidate for the state’s 21st Senate District, which encompasses the Antelope, Santa Clarita and Victor valleys. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays and rotates among local Democrats.