California Sen. Barbara Boxer has re-introduced legislation to solve a long-standing dispute over a sand-and-gravel mine in Santa Clarita.
Cemex USA, the U.S. division of the Mexican cement company, has a lease with the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to mine in Soledad Canyon. The City of Santa Clarita opposes the operation.
The Soledad Canyon Settlement Act introduced by Boxer instructs the BLM to cancel Cemex’s mining leases at Soledad Canyon and prohibit future operations at the site. In return, BLM will sell land near Victorville that it has already identified for sale, and use the proceeds to compensate Cemex for the canceled contracts.
“This legislation has the support of the City of Santa Clarita and Cemex USA, and I am hopeful that we can work with both Republicans and Democrats in Congress to resolve this decades-long dispute and protect the people of the Santa Clarita Valley from pollution and traffic congestion,” Boxer said in a statement. “By ensuring that this bill will have no cost to the government or taxpayers, I believe we have increased our chances of passing it.”
Santa Clarita officials recently sent a letter to the Administration expressing their interest in donating the mine property to the federal government to serve as a gateway point for the recently designated San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, as the mine sits directly on the new monument's northwestern boundary. However, the mining dispute would first need to be resolved before the city could donate the property.
Boxer introduced similar legislation twice that did not make it through Congress.