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July 16
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]


A Texas appeals court Thursday said the government is correct: Mexican national cement maker Cemex must pay the Lone Star State its due – potentially half a billion dollars or more – for mining a quarry outside of El Paso.

The appeals panel left it to the trial court to come up with an exact figure, but Texas claims it is owed $558 million in unpaid royalties dating back to the 1940s.

Cemex, which bought the 1,400-acre quarry from a predecessor in 2005, said it “will continue to vigorously defend itself against the state’s claim for royalties.”

(Cemex holds federal permits to mine 56 million tons of sand and gravel in the Soledad Canyon region of the Santa Clarita Valley. Cemex, together with Sen. Barbara Boxer and the cities of Santa Clarita and Victorville, are working on a plan to void the mining permits in exchange for a swap of land and cash. But if the deal falls through and mining commences, Cemex would be required to pay royalties to the federal government, the state of California and other jurisdictions – but not to the city of Santa Clarita, even though the city owns the surface rights to the land.)

The Texas case centers around Cemex’s operations in McKelligon Canyon, in the Franklin Mountains just north of the border city of El Paso.

The state sued the mining company for unlawful land conversion, breach of contract and trespass. In a post-ruling statement Friday, Texas Land Commissioner Jerry Patterson said the state “never authorized Cemex to take its minerals.”

He said after independence from Mexico in 1836, the Texas constitution required vacant land to remain in the public domain, and after Texas joined the Union, surface rights were gradually sold off for ranching and agricultural purposes. But the state “retained all valuable materials on, in and under the state’s lands for the benefit of public education,” he said.

“These Permanent School Fund lands in El Paso’s McKelligon Canyon were sold under the Land Sales Acts of 1895 and 1907, which expressly state all mineral wealth on the land remained property of the school fund,” he said.

He said the Texas School Fund holds about $25 billion in stocks, bonds and real estate investments. Patterson’s office leases surface acreage and charges royalties for exploitation rights to produce oil, gas and other minerals. Earnings fund K-12 education.

Cemex argued that sand and gravel aren’t “minerals” reserved to the state, and moreover, the state never pursued 60 years of past-due royalty payments before Cemex took over operations.

In Thursday’s decision, appellate Justice Guadalupe Rivera opined that under the Texas Mining Act of 1895, “title to all deposits of granite, limestone, gravel, sand and any other mineral substances of whatever kind or character having commercial value located on the McKelligon Canyon lands … are reserved to the State of Texas.”

The appeals court determined that the trial court erred because it “improperly relied upon attorney general opinions interpreting statutes inapplicable to these properties (and) ignore(d) the reservation of minerals and materials to the state” under the 1895 mining law. No public official – not even the state’s attorney general – can give away state property, the justices added.

“Cemex does not own the minerals and building materials at issue,” the court concluded.

“The gist of this case is simple,” said Patterson. “You just can’t take what’s not yours without a fight in Texas.”

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Saturday, Jul 14, 2018
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out
Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Friday, Jul 13, 2018
COC to Accept 500 More First-Year Promise Students
College of the Canyons will accept an additional 500 students to its First-Year Promise program for the fall 2018 semester, an expansion made possible by funding from a new state program called California College Promise.
Friday, Jul 13, 2018
Supes Float New Tax on Roofs, Driveways, Patios
Los Angeles County voters may soon be asked to vote on a new "parcel" tax to be levied on private property owners' "impenetrable areas" -- everything from rooftops to driveways -- to help pay for the capture of recyclable stormwater runoff.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1925 - Actor Harry Carey files patent on the original 160-acre Saugus homestead he'd purchased in 1916 (now Tesoro Del Valle) [story]
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Stay out of the water at Pyramid Lake in Los Angeles County until further notice and avoid eating fish from the lake due to the presence of blue-green algae.
Algae in Pyramid Lake at ‘Danger’ Level – Keep Out
1769 - Portolá party sets out from San Diego; first Europeans to "discover" Santa Clarita Valley 3½ weeks later [story]
The CTG Stars teenage summer workshop production of "Shrek: The Musical, Jr." takes the stage at the Canyon Theatre Guild in Old Town Newhall for two final performances on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
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The William S. Hart Museum will host an open house and summer fun event for kids on Thursday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
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