A ruling by the U.S. District Court on May 25, 2022, vacates both the Interior Board of Land Appeals Decision made in 2019 and the Bureau of Land Management Decision made in 2015. As a result, BLM no longer has a valid decision indicating that the mining contracts are expired or terminated.
“This week’s decision by the U.S. District Court is irresponsible and sets an egregious precedent on federal mineral contracts,” said Mayor and CEMEX City Council Ad Hoc Committee member Laurene Weste. “These contracts were canceled by the Bureau of Land Management, and that decision was subsequently reaffirmed by the Interior Board of Land Appeals. To reverse the action and reinstate the CEMEX mining contracts puts our residents, natural environment, wildlife and our community’s quality of life in danger. This issue is far from over and we will continue to fight and oppose any and all mining in Soledad Canyon.”
The city is working with special counsel and seeking information from the federal government on potential next steps in an effort to assess all options.
These most recent developments are the latest in what has been a 25-year-long battle over mining rights in Soledad Canyon. The city of Santa Clarita has been fighting to prevent mining in Soledad Canyon since the CEMEX contracts were issued by the federal government in 1990.
The CEMEX contracts would allow for the mining of 56-million tons of sand and gravel from Soledad Canyon, which would add up to 1,164 truck trips a day to local roads and freeways. This would cause air quality issues and potential negative impacts to the Santa Clara River, the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and wildlife corridors connecting the Angeles National Forest, as well as fish, wildlife and sensitive habitat and endangered species in the area.
“This court action reverses the decades of dedicated work by our community leaders, environmentalists and local organizations,” said Mayor Pro Tem and CEMEX City Council Ad Hoc Committee member Jason Gibbs. “Mining in Soledad Canyon would create lasting devastation to our air quality, add traffic to our roads and negatively impact our local environment. The city is exploring any and every option and will remain vigilant on this crucial issue.”