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Our View: It’s time to push D.C. on Cemex

Posted: August 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 19, 2012 2:00 a.m.
 

It’s encouraging to see apparent action occurring on efforts to stop the 56-million-ton Cemex sand and gravel mine from going online in the Santa Clarita Valley.

As reported in The Signal, a bill drafted by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., to solve the impasse concerning the mine could be heard by a Senate committee in Washington next month.

Cemex purchased mining contracts from the Bureau of Land Management in 1990 to open the proposed mine in Soledad Canyon in Canyon Country. This mine would truly ruin the quality of life in our valley by polluting the air and clogging our roads with huge sand and gravel trucks.

After years of battling with the city of Santa Clarita over the mine, Cemex agreed to a land swap for property in Victorville in exchange for an agreement not to mine in the Santa Clarita Valley. The Boxer bill, if passed, would approve the swap.

Legislation to curtail the mine has been introduced in years past but has not gone anywhere. We hope this time there will be a different outcome.

Boxer has written a letter to Sen. Jeff Bingaman, who heads the Senate committee that would hear the bill. In the letter, she asks for a hearing on the matter and says her office hopes that will happen before the fall election.

Congressional watchers think that’s unlikely and believe if it is heard, it won’t be until the next session of Congress, which begins in January.

The fact that Boxer is pushing for Congress to hear the bill is encouraging and moves the matter further in Washington than it has gone in a long time. But politics could doom the effort.

Congressman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, says a ban on so-called earmarks prevents him from introducing any similar legislation in the House of Representatives. Without House support, it seems that any legislation blocking the mine would never pass.

So that’s why we feel that now, more than ever, is the time for residents of this valley to get involved and let our public officials both locally and in Washington know that we will not just sit back and let inertia cause the eventual opening of this mine.

We encourage Santa Clarita Valley residents to call or write Boxer and McKeon to let them know that this mine must be stopped and that, as our representatives, they need to help in those efforts.

Let Santa Clarita City Hall know that we are all behind its efforts to stop the mine and we will help by putting public pressure on our elected federal officials.

It’s the biggest issue we have facing us right now and our quality of life is at stake.

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