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

Santa Clarita CA
Today in
S.C.V. History
October 21-22
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,000 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico

Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico

[KHTS] – A New Mexico senator who claims to be an advocate for environmental causes said Monday he opposes the Cemex bill — which would prevent a 56 million ton sand-and-gravel mine from opening in the Santa Clarita Valley — because it sets a “dangerous precedent.”

The Cemex bill, or Soledad Canyon Settlement Act, calls for the Bureau of Land Management to cancel two 10-year contracts Cemex has for mineral rights in Soledad Canyon, In exchange, BLM officials would sell about 10,000 acres in San Bernardino County to compensate Cemex for the contracts.

“That’s definitely the piece of this that he has concerns with,” said Whitney Porter, spokeswoman for Sen. Martin Heinrich, D-New Mexico, referring to the land sale.

“Sen. Heinrich has no objection to buying out the gravel mining contract outside of Santa Clarita, Calif.,” Porter said. “However, the Soledad Canyon Settlement Act uses the sale of 10,000 acres of BLM land as a budget offset to pay for the buyout. This is highly unusual for public land legislation.”

Heinrich, who touts his concern for the environment, said such a bill establishes a precedent for Congress to use its national lands as a piggy bank, Porter said.

On his website, Heinrich considers himself “a lead proponent of preserving New Mexico’s public lands and wildlife.”

“Fighting for public access to public land and conservation has been a centerpiece of Senator Heinrich’s public career,” Porter stated in an email. “America’s forests, wildlife refuges and conservation lands are part of the fabric of our democracy.”

Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced the Cemex bill in November, after learning the legislation earned a zero score from the Congressional Budget Office. A zero score means there would be no cost to the taxpayer.

Before garnering a Senate seat, Heinrich served two terms on the Armed Services Committee in the House with Congressman Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita, who authored identical legislation to the Cemex bill.

McKeon just finished his third and final term as chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Heinrich applauded Congress’ bipartisan passage of dozens of public land use bills in the National Defense Authorization Act on Friday, some of which were similar in nature to the Cemex bill.

Last week, McKeon said he was unaware of the package of public land use bills, which is why the Cemex bill — long considered an ideal target for an omnibus legislative package — didn’t make it into the NDAA. This claim was later questioned by his recently elected replacement, Congressman-elect Steve Knight.

Knight promised to introduce a similar Cemex bill the first chance he got, however, that might be too late.

“Cemex will definitely have to take a longer term look forward at our next steps with Soledad Canyon,” said Sara Engdahl, spokeswoman for Cemex. “If a resolution is not reached, then Cemex is still under obligation for the contracts we hold.”

There are a series of permits that are required before Cemex could begin on-site operations, she said. Cemex officials are still hopeful for a legislative solution, she said, but the window appears to be rapidly closing.

“Based on the ongoing conversation that Cemex has had (with affected parties, such as the city of Santa Clarita), it seems as though the time for a resolution has come,” she said Monday, referring to the end of the legislative session. “We are still optimistic that Sen. Boxer’s bill, S.B. 2938, can be passed. We’re still hoping to work toward that resolution.”

Heinrich introduced a bill last week, S.B. 3016, that would, going forward, allow the BLM “the authority to accept a relinquished ‘mineral materials’ (sand, gravel, aggregate, etc.) contract and reimburse the company for funds paid for the contract,” Porter said.

Currently, BLM has this authority for oil and gas leases, but not gravel, she added.

However, there are two foreseeable concerns with the situation for advocates of the Cemex bill, which includes the city of Santa Clarita, that has spent about $12 million for the property.

The relinquishment must happen before production of minerals and before any surface disturbance, Porter said.

However, Soledad Canyon was reportedly mined without federal permits in the 1990s, which is what reportedly prompted the sale of contracts, and led to the city purchasing the property.

The other issue is one of time.

Cemex officials have said this current legislative session is the deadline for the international mining company to look for a legislative solution that would avoid a mine opening up in Santa Clarita’s backyard, according to congressional testimony.

When reached for comment last week, Cemex spokeswoman Sara Engdahl said the international mining company “fully supports this legislation and is optimistic of its passage in the Senate,” referring to  S.B. 2938.  “We will continue to keep the lines of communication open with the city of Santa Clarita as we move closer to a resolution.”


From the city of Santa Clarita:

City officials are encouraging concerned parties, including Santa Clarita Valley residents and neighbors of the affected area to contact Sen. Martin Heinrich: at his website, www.heinrich.senate.gov; @MartinHeinrich on Twitter; on Facebook; or at  (202) 224-5521 (office); (202) 228-2841 (fax).

Officials said Monday, December 15, 2014, is the deadline for the vote.

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.


  1. MTS says:

    He has a point.

  2. MTS says:

    The Senator has a point.

Leave a Comment

SCV NewsBreak
Friday, Oct 19, 2018
Unwanted Sexual Encounter Reported at COC
College of the Canyons administrators alerted students and faculty Friday morning to a report of an unwanted sexual encounter Thursday in a COC restroom.
Friday, Oct 19, 2018
Red Flag Warning Flies Till 10 Friday Night
The National Weather Service issued an urgent red flag warning at 3 p.m. Friday that will remain in effect in the Santa Clarita Valley until 10 p.m. due to gusty Santa Ana wind and low humidity.
Friday, Oct 19, 2018
State Voters Eye Ballot Measures for Solutions to Housing Crisis
In less than three weeks, California’s 19 million voters will decide a slate of midterm ballot measures aimed at easing the state’s affordable housing crisis, but not all initiatives may bring residents the relief they seek.
Keep Up With Our Facebook

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Here is the Santa Clarita Valley Football Roundup for Week 9 of the 2018 season. College of the Canyons remains undefeated with a win against East LA, while Hart handed West Ranch its first defeat of the season.
Santa Clarita Valley Football Roundup
2007 - Buckweed fire chars 38,000 acres, destroys 21 homes in Canyon Country and Agua Dulce [story]
1873 - Santa Barbara lawyers Charles Fernald and J.T. Richards purchase Rancho San Francisco for $33,000 (75 cents an acre) in a sheriff's sale [story]
The annual "Fun in the Sun" Chili Cook-Off staged by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department to benefit the Special Olympics is set for Saturday, Oct. 20 from 11 a.m to 4 p.m. at the Jack Bones Equestrian Center in Castaic.
Oct. 20: LASD ‘Fun in the Sun’ Chili Cook-Off to Benefit Special Olympics
College of the Canyons administrators alerted students and faculty Friday morning to a report of an unwanted sexual encounter Thursday in a COC restroom.
Unwanted Sexual Encounter Reported at COC
Brian O’Connor has been promoted to vice president brand and corporate communication at Santa Clarita-based Princess Cruises.
Princess Cruises Ups O’Connor to VP Brand, Corporate Communications
Santa Clarita City Councilmembers on Tuesday night will discuss how to respond to county planners' request that developers consider a homeless shelter in Phase II of the proposed Tesoro del Valle housing project just north of city limits.
Oct. 23: City to Weigh Response to County Idea for Tesoro Homeless Shelter
The Santa Clarita City Council will hold its next meetings at City Hall on Tuesday, Oct. 23.
Oct. 23: Santa Clarita City Council Regular, Special Meetings
The National Weather Service issued an urgent red flag warning at 3 p.m. Friday that will remain in effect in the Santa Clarita Valley until 10 p.m. due to gusty Santa Ana wind and low humidity.
Red Flag Warning Flies Till 10 Friday Night
The registration deadline to vote in the Nov. 6 General Election is Monday, Oct. 22, at 11:59 p.m.
Oct 22: Last Day to Register to Vote in Nov. 6 Election
In less than three weeks, California’s 19 million voters will decide a slate of midterm ballot measures aimed at easing the state’s affordable housing crisis, but not all initiatives may bring residents the relief they seek.
State Voters Eye Ballot Measures for Solutions to Housing Crisis
The next meeting of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is set for Tuesday, Oct. 23, starting at 9:30 a.m.
Oct. 23: LA County Board of Supervisors Meeting
Lane closures on Soledad Canyon Road due to film-related activity near the Saugus Speedway will begin at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday and end at approximately 4 a.m. Wednesday, according to an alert from the city of Santa Clarita.
Lane Closures on Soledad for Filming Set for Tuesday Night
Night work on the city of Santa Clarita's Sierra Highway pedestrian bridge project will take place at the construction site on Sierra Highway north of Golden Valley Road on Tuesday, Oct. 23, from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.
Oct. 23: Night Work on New Sierra Highway Pedestrian Bridge
East LA College will visit Cougar Stadium Saturday night, and all SCV youth football and cheer teams — Santa Clarita Cowboys, Grizzlies, Spartans, Vikings, Warriors, Wildcats and teams from other parks and recreation programs — are invited to attend the game free of charge when wearing a school jersey or uniform.
COC Invites SCV Youth Football, Cheer Programs to Saturday’s Game
To increase awareness about school bus safety among motorists, parents, teachers and students, the California Highway Patrol will observe National School Bus Safety Week Oct. 22-26.
Oct. 22-26: CHP Rides with School Bus Safety Week
Oct. 21-27 is National Teen Driver Safety Week, and the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department wants to remind parents and guardians the importance of talking to their teen drivers about new responsibilities and rules that come with operating a vehicle.
Oct. 21-27: LASD Rolls with National Teen Driver Safety Week
Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested a Long Beach man on multiple charges for weapons and drugs earlier this week, according to officials.
SCV Deputies Arrest Long Beach Man in Gorman on Multiple Charges
1945 - Acton Hotel, est. 1890, burns down; arson is suspected [story]
The Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation presents its latest “Recreation After Dark” event, “Goin’ Country at Hart.”
Oct. 19: Goin’ Country at Hart to Feature Moldy Marvin, Highway 138
ARCADIA, Calif. — On Wednesday, Jerry Perez officially reported to the Angeles National Forest and San Gabriel Mountains National Monument, where he will serve as the new Forest Supervisor, replacing Jeff Vail, who accepted the position of deputy director for Recreation, Heritage and Volunteer Resources in the Forest Service’s Washington Office.
New Angeles National Forest Supervisor Excited About New Position
Le Chene French Cuisine has announced that they will be hosting two special events coming to you in November.
Le Chene Invites Residents to November Celebrations
The Valencia High School Marching Band and Color Guard held their first major fundraising event for their band season.
Valencia High School Marching Band Appreciates Support from Community
The city of Santa Clarita will present three music-related sessions at the 2018 Arts Symposium at The Centre on Saturday, Oct. 20.
Oct. 20: Art Symposium to Stage 3 Music Sessions
It makes good sense to review your coverage each year. Make sure your plan still is a good fit for you in terms of cost, coverage, and quality.
How to Shop for Medicare Plans | Commentary by Greg Dill
StarKist Co. has agreed to plead guilty for its role in a conspiracy to fix prices of packaged seafood sold in the United States, the Department of Justice announced Thursday.
StarKist Pleads Guilty to Price Fixing
The First Presbyterian Church of Newhall will be performing “The Green Velvet Christmas Dress.”
Newhall Church to Present ‘The Green Velvet Christmas Dress’
Decorated with fun embellishments such as puffy paint, tulle fabric, feathers and even bubble wrap, artist Georgette Arison’s mixed-media art in “Dressing Up is Fun,” the newest art exhibit at the Newhall Community Center, uses unconventional methods to showcase costume design.
‘Dressing Up is Fun’ Exhibit Now Showcasing at Newhall Community Center
Celebrating its 5th anniversary this year, the Santa Clarita Oktoberfest is a Southern California twist on the original Oktoberfest held annually in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.
Oct. 19, 20: Santa Clarita Oktoberfest
College of the Canyons has been ranked No. 29 by the Hispanic Outlook on Education Magazine’s Top 100 colleges and universities list for graduating Hispanic students.
Hispanic Outlook Ranks COC No. 29 on Top 100 List
Maj. Stephen Del Bagno, a United States Air Force Thunderbirds pilot and a graduate of Saugus High School who died on April 4 during a routine aerial training flight in the Nevada Test and Training Range, lost consciousness before the fatal crash, according to a report released by the Air Force.
Report: Santa Clarita Thunderbirds Pilot Lost Consciousness Before Crash
SAN FRANCISCO – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced Monday an agreement with the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) to close 62 campground pit toilets, considered to be large capacity cesspools, at seven national forests across California.
Forest Service Forced to Close Cesspools in State’s National Forests
The Los Angeles County Commission on Human Relations (LACCHR) released its annual account Wednesday of hate crimes reported throughout Los Angeles County in 2017.
LA County Hate Crimes Continue to Rise
Sheriff Jim McDonnell has named Sergio Perez, a Los Angeles native, as his Constitutional Policing Advisor to assist the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) in sustaining reform and advancing justice for the diverse communities we serve.
LASD Names New Constitutional Policing Adviser
Every year, department members who perform acts of great courage and heroism, who go above and beyond the call of duty to save the lives of others while placing their own lives at risk, are honored and recognized at the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Medal of Valor Awards Ceremony.
LASD Department Members, Private Citizens Recognized at Award Ceremony
1876 - Southern Pacific begins subdividing town of Newhall (original location at Bouquet Junction) [story]