The possibility of mining in Soledad Canyon is once again before Congress, as Senator Barbara Boxer introduced the Soledad Canyon High Desert, California Public Lands Conservation and Management Act of 2011 on Thursday.
This legislation would resolve a two-decade mining dispute between the City of Santa Clarita and Cemex USA by requiring the Secretary of the Interior to cancel current mining contracts in Soledad Canyon and prohibit future mining at this site.
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“This legislation will implement a locally-negotiated solution to the Soledad Canyon mining dispute that is supported by both the City of Santa Clarita and Cemex USA. By preventing open-pit mining in the area, we will conserve ecologically-important lands and support community development plans throughout the region,” Boxer said.
Boxer’s legislation would cancel Cemex USA’s sand and gravel mining leases at a Bureau of Land Management site and withdraw this site from future mining. The legislation would also instruct BLM to sell lands near Victorville that have already been identified for disposal, and would use the proceeds to compensate Cemex USA for the canceled mining contracts.
The numerous regional benefits, including protecting ecologically-important lands and facilitating nearby community development plans has earned the bill broad support from the cities of Santa Clarita and Victorville, Cemex USA, the Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy and the Sierra Club.
“The City of Santa Clarita is extremely appreciative of Senator Boxer's leadership and perseverance in seeking to satisfactorily resolve the long term issue of proposed mining in Soledad Canyon,” stated Santa Clarita Mayor Marsha McLean.
Boxer previously introduced this legislation in the 111th Congress, along with Congressman Buck McKeon, who sponsored the bill in the House.
Congressman McKeon said, “Senator Boxer and I share a common goal of resolving concerns related to the proposed CEMEX mine, and today marks another step in moving forward for the residents of Santa Clarita.”