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Jack Pilcher


Cemex filed a civil-rights lawsuit in the Los Angeles Superior Court last month in hopes of blocking the city of Santa Clarita from annexing the land Cemex wants to mine.

Without explaining in its complaint exactly how Cemex Inc. – a U.S. corporate division of a larger foreign multinational corporation – is a protected class under federal civil rights statutes, it asserts that it is covered under them; and it claims the courts recently awarded $100 million in damages to a pair of companies under those statutes “for constitutional violations of public officials.”

At issue is city-owned land that the city wants to annex. The land sits immediately outside the city’s border in Soledad Canyon, and the city wants to bring it into the city.

The trouble for the city all along has been that while it owns the land, it doesn’t own the mineral rights. Those belong to the federal government, and in 1990 the Bureau of Land Management awarded contracts to Transit Mixed Concrete to upturn 78 million tons of earth to produce 56.1 million tons of concrete aggregates.

Transit Mixed never started mining, and the company was bought by the larger Southdown Inc., which was subsequently bought by the even larger Cemex.

The city has ardently opposed the mining project and has taken many steps over the years to block it, including purchasing the land a number of years ago.

In 2004 the county of Los Angeles completed its pro-forma environmental review of the mining project and the city sued the county, alleging deficiencies in the procedure. The city tried to annex the property at that time, but the matter was tied up in court.

The upshot was a 2006 settlement agreement in which, Cemex now says, the city agreed to prepare a full-blown environmental impact report for any annexation of the property in question.

Dial up the clock to November 2017, and the city issued a negative declaration for its latest annexation plan. A negative declaration is considerably less stringent than an environmental impact report – and in any event, Cemex alleges, it’s not what the city agreed to do.

Cemex also claims the city didn’t give it adequate notice about the annexation.

Thus, Cemex is suing for breach of contract (the terms of the 2006 settlement agreement), breach of “the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing,” and civil rights violations “based upon the City’s numerous and deliberate violations of a settlement agreement.”

Cemex is asking the court to grant an injunction to block the annexation and “compensatory damages in an amount to be determined” in a civil-rights trial.

The Santa Clarita City Council is scheduled to discuss the litigation behind closed doors Tuesday.

 

 

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8 Comments

  1. Vince Kilbride says:

    Private land owners should sue. They will be faced with the wind blown pollution. Corporations are not anthropomorphic.

  2. Vince Kilbride says:

    The Mineral Rights are part of a Spanish Land Grant. Then Mexican but originally Spain. The last treaty with theUnited States was never upheld under international law.

  3. DP Rickmers says:

    56 tons of aggregate is worth how much net? Offer them a percentage of that to walk away.

    • SCVNews.com says:

      56 Million tons. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $1 Billion. One problem with that (besides not having $1 Billion) is that if the mining project starts, there’s another, even larger mining project on the books right behind it.

      • DP Rickmers says:

        That’s net? Projected profit?

        That limestone mountain in Fontana is still fresh on my mind. What ugliness. This is the middle of 10,000,000 people. Would they put a strip mine in Central Park NYC?

        • DP Rickmers says:

          The ghastly eyesore in Colton (apologies to Fontana) was called Mt. Slover. There is a story there regarding quarrying, pollution, railroads, freeways and people.

  4. Viva Mexico, Viva sanctuary California. Now is the time to regain the land stolen from The Republic of Mexico.

  5. jim says:

    Well, gang we are now hoist by our own petard. The City made headway on this issue due to a number of local issues (traffic, aka hundreds of double-trailer trucks hauling rocks and gravel on Hwy 14 and city streets; a popular uprising from the locals who will be affected, and most importantly a democratic Congress and President who would listen).

    All of that (except the truckloads) is now no longer an issue. The mineral rights exist but the BLM under the previous regime responded in The People’s favor. Now that series of confluent power moves are about to be erased. Congress isn’t going to give a hoot about a bunch of whiny Californians, especially when their Republican representatives will line up with Cemex. The BLM has a new boss, and we’ve already seen what he is willing to do regarding Federal Lands and land rights.

    IF you want to avoid the traffic on State Route 14 (and the lovely I-5 Interchange) when the hundreds of doubles begin to roll, you’d better sell quick and move to Ventura County. That way you’ll only have to worry about the traffic on the 101. And of course the landslides on PCH.

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