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9th District Court of Appeals Finds Cemex Consent Decree “Fundamentally Fair”

A three-member panel of the 9th District Court of Appeals issued a ruling late Friday, upholding the Consent Decree between Los Angeles County and Cemex, writing that it is “fundamentally fair, adequate and reasonable.”
Santa Clarita presented its case which centered around the issue of pre-emption of state and local authority by the federal government.
“The City contends that the federal government does not have sole jurisdiction over matters which have an impact on the local community,” said Mayor Laurene Weste.
The City of Santa Clarita appeared at the 9th Circuit on February 7, 2006 to present its case for appeal of the Consent Decree that allowed the Cemex Corporation to pursue its plan to mine 56 million net tons of gravel from Soledad Canyon.
“The whole point of a consent decree is that the court need not adjudicate the merits. We conclude only that the district court acted well within its discretion in approving the settlement,” the judges wrote in their ruling.
Santa Clarita officials were disappointed in the ruling which denies to the City any opportunity to participate in the formulation of the Consent Decree, while the same court had approved the City’s intervention in the case.
Further surprising the City and its attorneys was a statement by the judges that the same three-judge panel will retain jurisdiction over all future appeals involving this mining project. Normally, a three-judge panel from the 9th District Court of Appeals is selected at random for each new lawsuit.
“The City is very disappointed and is considering its options relative to further challenge of the trial court decision,” said Carl Newton, City Attorney.