SACRAMENTO – Senate Bill 520, which would give the public the opportunity to weigh in before the CEMEX mega-mine can proceed, has passed out of its first policy committee, according to California Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who co-authored the bill with Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita.
Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announced that SB 520 would provide the public a second opportunity to weigh in on large projects approved more than 30 years ago before those projects could move forward. The CEMEX mega-mine in the Santa Clarita Valley is an example of a project that would benefit from this measure.
“I am happy to report that SB 520 passed out of the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee with unanimous support,” Wilk said in a statement Wednesday. “The Committee agreed that 30 years is more than enough time to reevaluate the impact of CEMEX’s mega-mine on the Soledad Canyon community.”
As amended by the committee, SB 520 will now require State Water Resources Control Board to provide public notice and hearings to allow for community input before a final decision is made on a water appropriation application for mining project that has been pending for 30 years from the applications original filing date.
Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Laurene West provided testimony in support of the bill during the hearing and stated that “this critical piece of legislation will significantly improve the state’s review of long-pending and severely outdated water appropriation applications.”
“Senate Bill 520 strengthens public participation in this process and ensures that members of the public and community stakeholders have an opportunity to have their views presented and considered by the State Water Resources Control Board,” West said.
“Additionally, this legislation is critical in protecting groundwater, rivers, and tributaries, and some of the state’s most iconic wildlife,” she said. “I commend Senator Wilk and express my sincere appreciation for his leadership and perseverance on this very important matter.”
SB 520 will proceed to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration of its fiscal impact in the coming weeks.