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Boxer introduces CEMEX bill in Senate

Identical to legislation introduced to House by Rep. McKeon

Posted: March 2, 2010 2:28 p.m.
Updated: March 2, 2010 2:26 p.m.
 
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) introduced a bill, "The Soledad Canyon High Desert, California Public Lands Conservation and Management Act of 2010," today to the U.S. Senate.

It is identical to legislation introduced in the House by Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon (R-Santa Clarita). Introduced Dec. 18, 2009, H.R. 4332 has already received a wide variety of support from many organizations, including the Sierra Club, Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, Friends of the Santa Clara River, Clean Air Now, and Endangered Habitats League, according to the city of Santa Clarita.

Boxer issued the following statement upon introducing her bill:

"Mr. President, I am pleased to introduce the Soledad Canyon High Desert, California Public Lands Conservation and Management Act of 2010. This bill would resolve a twenty-year-old mining dispute between the city of Santa Clarita and CEMEX USA, and have numerous other benefits for communities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino Counties, CA.

"In 1990, the Bureau of Land Management awarded CEMEX two ten-year consecutive contracts to extract 56 million tons of sand and gravel from a site in Soledad Canyon. The city of Santa Clarita strongly opposed CEMEX's expansion of mining in this area.

"After two decades of conflict and nearly a decade of litigation, the two parties announced a truce in early 2007, and started working out an agreement.

"This legislation would implement the terms of that agreement. It would require the Secretary of the Interior to cancel CEMEX's mining contracts in Soledad Canyon and prohibit future mining at this site.

"The BLM would sell lands near Victorville, California that are currently on its disposal list, and would use the proceeds to compensate CEMEX for the cancellation of its mining contracts.

"The city of Victorville and county of San Bernardino would have the right of first refusal to purchase many of these parcels, which would help satisfy their future development needs. Some of these funds would also go towards the purchase of environmentally-sensitive lands in southern California.

"My legislation would settle a twenty-year-old dispute to all parties' satisfaction, complement future development plans in Southern California, help secure important lands for conservation, and do all of this without any cost to taxpayers.

"That's why it has already won the support of a diverse group of interests, including the city of Santa Clarita, CEMEX, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy, and the Sierra Club.

"I have worked with Rep. Buck McKeon in introducing this measure and look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to secure its passage."

This story is posted in The Signal's SCV Raw section. Click here for more information about SCV Raw.

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