[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Clear
Clear
61°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
September 25
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]


[KHTS] – President Barack Obama’s declaration Friday of the San Gabriel Mountains as a national monument bolsters Santa Clarita’s argument against a potential century of Cemex mining in the Santa Clarita Valley, city officials said Wednesday.

“The national monument designation does not alter the contracts that Cemex holds with the Bureau of Land Management,” said Mike Murphy, intergovernmental relations officer for Santa Clarita.

Click for full map

Click for full map

However, it does support what Santa Clarita city officials, and its supporters in the effort, have been saying all along, he said.

“It’s an additional affirmation of the importance of the ecological resources in that area, and that’s part of the argument that we’ve been making with the Department of the Interior and with Congress,” Murphy said. “There are significant ecological natural resources in that Upper Santa Clara River area that are incompatible with a large-scale mining operations.”

The land Cemex has contractual mining rights for abuts a corner of the new national monument, according to maps provided by Santa Clarita officials, who have testified in front of Congress about the land.

“(The declaration of a monument) doesn’t take away from our commitment to operate as a responsible corporate neighbor, and we’ll take the necessary steps to make sure that we do that,” said Sara Engdahl, a CemexUSA spokeswoman.

Cemex remains committed to working with the city on S.B. 771, she added.

Obama’s declaration Friday was the culmination of a legislative effort started by a neighboring district supported by Santa Clarita Valley officials.

Using the Antiquities Act of 1906, Obama declared roughly 346,000 acres the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, including 14,700 acres of the 25th Congressional District, east of Highway 14 in Canyon County/Soledad Canyon and the region south of Acton.

“Over 15 million people live within 90 minutes of the San Gabriel Mountains,” Obama said last week. “These mountains provide residents with roughly 30 percent of their water and 70 percent of their open space.”

The area is being closely watched by Santa Clarita officials who have been working cooperatively with Cemex for several years to prevent a massive mining operation from moving to the east side of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Cemex hold a pair of back-to-back mining contracts for Soledad Canyon, each 10 years in length, which would yield about 56 million tons of usable aggregate — a total of 78 million tons of the material used to make gravel and concrete — over the next 20 years. But the mining of the sand and gravel is expected to be necessary for much longer than that, according to Bureau of Land Management officials.

The potential value of the aggregate and the contracts are significant because Cemex is currently agreeable to a land-swap deal proposed by Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., who has proposed legislation offering land in San Bernardino County in exchange for Cemex forfeiting its mining rights in that area.

The latest product of the cooperative effort, S.B. 771, calls for BLM land in Victorville to be sold, with those proceeds compensating Cemex for the value of the contract. The land would also be made unavailable for future mining.

However, the deal must “zero out,” meaning the potential value of the mining contracts the federal government would receive from royalties must match the value in the land it would be giving up, officials said.

The Congressional Budget Office has released no update on its valuation for the bill, and city officials have not been given specifics on how the land values and potential royalties are going to be projected.

Local officials have received indications from Boxer’s office there is a “significant” difference in how the two sides feel the value should be calculated, Murphy said. One example he gave was that BLM officials anticipate a value of $1.50 per ton in royalties after the first four years (when it’s guaranteed to have a value of $0.50 per ton), whereas local officials feel that’s unrealistic and the ramp-up would likely occur more gradually.

Cemex officials have said if something doesn’t happen in the current congressional session, which ends in December, then it eventually will look into capitalizing on their mining contracts.

A Cemex officials did not return a call seeking comment for this story.

In the meantime, Cemex remains a partner in the effort to move the potential mining site out of the Santa Clarita Valley, city officials said. It’s too early to look down the road of what-ifs because the legislative session isn’t over, yet.

“This designation doesn’t change anything that’s already in place,” Murphy said, “it just adds an additional argument to the argument we’ve been making for some time — of the incompatibility of the mine with the ecological resources in the Upper Santa Clara River.”

The area faces a need for aggregate and a potential supply shortage if the land-swap deal is approved, BLM officials have said.

The canyon has the potential to produce 356 million tons of sand and gravel, and it’s not clear if Friday’s declaration could impact that potential, but it means the massive sand-and-gravel mine would neighbor a national monument if the land-swap legislation is rejected.

The impetus for Friday’s move came from Rep. Judy Chu, D-Pasadena and H.R. 4858, the San Gabriel National Recreation Area bill, Murphy said.

While the bill ultimately failed to gain the necessary traction, it led to talks between Chu’s office and the White House, which saw the importance of the area as an ecological resource, Obama said Friday.

“Let me once again say ‘thank you’ to all of you who made this happen, and for your continued commitment to preserving our magnificent natural inheritance, and for ensuring that this ‘geography of hope’ remains the birthright of all Americans,” Obama said in his closing remarks, “not only for today, but for generations to come.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Sep 24, 2018
Firefighters Hold Charlie Fire to 3,380 Acres; 30 Percent Contained
The Charlie Fire near Castaic remains at 3,380 acres burned but is 30 percent contained, according to an update from the fire's Incident Commander just before 7 a.m. Monday.
Monday, Sep 24, 2018
California Officials Blast Feds’ Proposed Cleaner Car Standards Rollback
Top California policymakers testified Monday in strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed rule rolling back existing cleaner cars standards.
Monday, Sep 24, 2018
Sept. 25: County Hearings on Newhall Ranch, NorthLake Developments
Separate hearings in Los Angeles Superior Court and before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will address a lawsuit and an appeal against the Newhall Ranch and NorthLake mixed-use developments, respectively, in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1970 - Lagasse family helps save Mentryville buildings as Newhall and Malibu brush fires erupt & join into worst fire in SoCal history. Twelve fires over 10 days burn 525,000 acres, kill 13 people and destroy approx. 1,500 structures. [story]
Three individuals and one writing team have been selected as winners of the 2018 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition.
Academy Reveals 2018’s Winning Nicholl Screenwriters
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation will present an art show, a pow-wow, a series of country music concerts and a pet adoption fair at William S. Hart Regional Park in September and October.
Art Shows, Pow-Wow, Country Concerts, Pet Fair Coming to Hart Park
East meets West in legendary playwright Stan Lai’s new original work, "Nightwalk in the Chinese Garden," co-produced by CalArts' Center for New Performance and The Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.
CalArts Center for New Performance Stages New Stan Lai Play at Huntington
The College of the Canyons theatre department will open its season with a production of 'Our House,' running Oct. 5-14 at the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center's Black Box Theatre.
Oct. 5-14: COC Theatre to Present ‘Our House’ at Black Box
The Master's University women's volleyball team continued its best start to a season since 2012 on Saturday night in El Cajon, sweeping San Diego Christian.
Mustangs Volleyball Team Wins Another Conference Sweep
The TMU Mustangs women's volleyball team went on the road to face Life Pacific College on Friday in San Dimas and won 3-1 by scores of 20-25, 25-18, 27-25 and 25-17.
TMU Women’s Volleyball Wins on the Road at Life Pacific
The Charlie Fire near Castaic remains at 3,380 acres burned but is 30 percent contained, according to an update from the fire's Incident Commander just before 7 a.m. Monday.
Firefighters Hold Charlie Fire to 3,380 Acres; 30 Percent Contained
The Saugus High School music program's new salsa band will stage its first fundraiser at Dario's restaurant in Canyon Country on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Sept. 25: Fundraiser for Saugus Salsa Band at Dario’s
Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell announced the official launch of the LASD “Surviving an Active Shooter” brochure which is being made available to the 70 school districts composed of 1.7 million students in the county.
Sheriff Unveils Active Shooter Brochure for County Schools
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Monday published its list of upcoming submission deadlines for 91st Academy Awards consideration.
Oct. 1, Nov. 15: Submission Deadlines for 2018 Oscars
Top California policymakers testified Monday in strong opposition to the Trump Administration’s proposed rule rolling back existing cleaner cars standards.
California Officials Blast Feds’ Proposed Cleaner Car Standards Rollback
Separate hearings in Los Angeles Superior Court and before the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday will address a lawsuit and an appeal against the Newhall Ranch and NorthLake mixed-use developments, respectively, in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Sept. 25: County Hearings on Newhall Ranch, NorthLake Developments
The renowned Chinese Warriors of Peking troupe will bring its astounding martial arts and acrobatics performances to the Santa Clarita Performing Arts Center at College of the Canyons on Saturday, Oct. 6 starting at 4 p.m.
Oct. 6: Chinese Warriors of Peking Bring Martial Arts, Acrobatics to PAC
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its public safety and crime information report for Newhall (Zone 6) for the week of Sept. 10-16.
Crime Blotter: Grand Theft, Domestic Violence in Newhall
On the heels of the Global Climate Action Summit, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. Monday called for accelerated climate action at all levels and sectors of society in remarks at the opening of Climate Week NYC.
Brown Opens Climate Week NYC with Heads of State, UN Officials
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station has released its public safety and crime information report for Valencia (Zone 5) for the week of Sept. 10-16.
Crime Blotter: GTA, Assault with Deadly Weapon in Valencia
While still a sellers’ market, the inventory of homes and condos listed for sale in the Santa Clarita Valley increased for the third consecutive month in August, rising to its highest level since September 2014.
SCV Home, Condo Resale Prices Near Record Highs in August
California gets mixed reviews from the personal-finance website WalletHub in its report on 2018’s "Best and Worst States for Teachers."
California Gets Mixed Reviews in WalletHub Teachers Study
1855 - Sanford & Cyrus Lyon establish Lyon's Station (for stagecoaches) near today's Sierra Hwy & Newhall Ave [story]
1948 - Agua Dulce Women's Club organized [timeline]
Los Angeles County firefighters, along with Angeles National Forest Service, are battling the "Charlie Fire" in Castaic.
Charlie Fire in Castaic Grows to 3,380 acres, 10% Contained Sunday
1969 - College of the Canyons opens with first class of students in temporary quarters at Hart High School [story]
The contemporary art journal X-TRA and the Broad Museum in Downtown Los Angeles will present "The Un-Private Collection Workshop: Edgar Arceneaux" by the CalArts grad on Saturday, Sept. 22 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Sept. 22: Edgar Arceneaux Holds Financial Workshop at The Broad
The Master's University men's basketball team, which finished 29-3 last season, has released its 2018-19 schedule.
TMU Men’s Basketball Team Releases 2018-19 Schedule
The Los Angeles County Fire Department has launched an updated "Ready! Set! Go!" program to assist residents living in wildfire-prone areas.
Get Your Personal Ready! Set! Go! Wildfire Action Plan
The William S. Hart Union School District Board of Governors will recognize the district's 2018-2019 Teachers of the Year at the board's next regular meeting Wednesday night, Sept. 26.
Sept. 26: Hart Board to Honor District Teachers of the Year
The next regular meeting of the Governing Board of the William S. Hart Union High School District is set for Wednesday, Sept. 26.
Sept. 26: Hart District Governing Board Regular Meeting
The intersection of Newhall Ranch Road and McBean Parkway will be closed Tuesday, Sept. 25, from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., for the Federal Overlay Project being completed by the city of Santa Clarita to resurface the road.
Newhall Ranch Road, McBean Parkway Intersection to Close Tuesday Night
The California High-Speed Rail Authority has set an open house meeting in Agua Dulce on Saturday, Sept. 29 to gather public comment on the Palmdale to Burbank project section, which would closely follow Highway 14 through the Santa Clarita Valley.
Sept. 29: Open House on Proposed High-Speed Rail Route Thru SCV
Among the bills recently passed by California lawmakers and signed into law Thursday by Gov. Jerry Brown was Assembly Bill 3212, designed to strengthen the state's consumer protections for service members and military families, including California National Guard soldiers and airmen.
Brown Signs Bill Boosting Consumer Protection for Service Members
TMU All-American senior Benji Tembo scored in overtime, handing The Master's a 3-2 victory over the visiting Flames on Reese Field on Thursday.
Tembo, Mangan Lead Mustangs to OT Victory
College of the Canyons has opened registration for a series of free, short-term career skills classes this fall in the afternoons, evenings and online.
COC Offers No-Cost Skills Classes Afternoons, Evenings, Online
A roundtable discussion about a proposed Los Angeles County fee-based business registration program is set for the Stevenson Ranch Library on Tuesday, Sept. 25 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sept. 25: Roundtable on County’s Proposed Business Registration Fee
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Sept. 25, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Sept. 25: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting