[SAFE] – The nonprofit Safe Action for the Environment, Inc. is seeking 1,500 more signatures for its online petition seeking to stop the massive Cemex sand and gravel mine proposed for Soledad Canyon, pointing out that, once the mine is built, it will be too late for residents to complain.
“If you don’t like the idea of a massive, dusty, freeway-clogging mine in your community, now is the time to be heard, and if you wait until Cemex is hauling truckloads of gravel onto the freeway near Sand Canyon Road and polluting the air your children breathe, you waited too long,” said Andrew Fried, president of SAFE, which was formed to advocate for safe air, safe water and safe roads, in response to the Cemex mining plan.
Cemex ended its five-year truce with the City of Santa Clarita on May 31, which means the clock is officially ticking until mining begins on the site just outside Santa Clarita city limits, on Canyon Country’s eastern doorstep. Cemex is studying its options but definitely has the ability to move forward with the final permitting formalities and start mining — and this could mean mining activity will start in Soledad Canyon as soon as 12 to 18 months from now.
“It’s not over yet,” Fried said, “but it’s close.”
SAFE has launched an online petition and letter-writing drive seeking support for Senate Bill S. 759, authored by Sen. Barbara Boxer to resolve the 12-year dispute over the proposed 56-million-ton Cemex mine on Santa Clarita’s eastern border.
“We’re getting no help at all from our own Congressman, Buck McKeon, because he doesn’t think he needs to help Santa Clarita in order to get re-elected,” Fried said. “So, we need to demonstrate the highest possible level of community support for Sen. Boxer’s bill to get it passed.”
SAFE’s petition has gathered almost 3,500 signatures, and the goal is 5,000.
“We know there are a lot more people in this community who oppose the mine,” Fried said. “We just need them to show their support, by signing the petition or writing a letter in favor of S. 759.”
The mine has long been opposed by the City of Santa Clarita. In 2007 Cemex and the City reached a truce to seek a mutually agreeable solution. The bill by Boxer, D-Calif., would provide it by canceling Cemex’s Soledad Canyon mining contracts and compensating Cemex through the sale of lands near Victorville that are on the Bureau of Land Management’s “Disposal List.”
Fried urged citizens to help by signing SAFE’s petition and participating in SAFE’s letter writing campaign supporting S. 759. SAFE encourages entire families to sign the petition or write a letter of support. To do so, visit www.safe4environment.org and click on the “Sign Our Petition” and “Write to Support S. 759” buttons. Upon completion, SAFE’s petition will be shared with Boxer, McKeon, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, and the members of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources.
Said Fried: “If everyone who reads this would personally sign the petition, encourage their family members to also sign the petition and forward the SAFE website link to others in their address book; if every business owner who sees this would sign the petition and send the information to their customer list, we would quickly reach and surpass our goal. Sen. Boxer’s bill would solve the problem for both Cemex and the community.”
Opponents of the mine cite its undesirable impacts on air quality and traffic as it would reduce a mountain to rubble and add more than a thousand double-rigged sand and gravel truck trips to area freeways every day, rendering the Santa Clarita Valley a less desirable place to live, work, raise a family and own a home.
“Too often, communities wait until something bad happens before they try to do something about it,” Fried said. “We’re on borrowed time now. This project will initiate 100 years of mining at this one site in Soledad Canyon, with other mining companies following suit. Soledad Canyon will become a major mining corridor.”
SAFE Board Member Pauline Harte added: “The longer it takes for our community to make a strong statement against this mine, the more likely it is that in a year or two we will be living with it — and complaining about it.”
Additional information is available at www.safe4environment.org.