Cemex Suing Santa Clarita

Eileen Chen, Junior Editor

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The concrete supply company Cemex filed a lawsuit against the city of Santa Clarita as of December 22, 2017, claiming multiple breaches of a 2005 contract negotiating the city’s annexation of the Cemex Soledad Mine. In the 2005 case Cemex stated the city’s annexation application did not meet the standards of the California Environmental Act, which requires organizations in California to follow a protocol and publicly disclose environmental impacts of proposed projects.

“The annexation application is inadequate under the California Environmental Quality Act, in part because the city failed to assess the impacts of how that annexation will affect future mining at the property,” said lead attorney for Cemex’s Soledad Canyon project, Kerry Shapiro, to Daily News.

Cemex was awarded two contracts in 1990 to extract 56 million tons of gravel and sand in Soledad Canyon. In December 2014, Cemex told Santa Clarita that it needed to update its contracts in order to restart mining, but was instead informed that their contracts would be pulled in March 2015. While Santa Clarita does own the disputed land, the city does not own the mineral rights. The land is officially owned by the federal government, which was in turn awarded to the company Transit Mixed Concrete in 1990 by the Bureau of Land Management. Transit Mixed Concrete never started mining and the company was bought by Southtown Incorporated, which was later bought by Cemex.

The beginnings of the case in 2004 was sparked by the county of Los Angeles’ environmental review of the Cemex project. Santa Clarita sued the county, under allegations of deficiencies in the procedure. The city attempted to annex the land but the case ended up at a standstill in court. The case was brought back into the light in 2006 with an agreement that Santa Clarita would prove a complete environmental impact report for any annexation of the Cemex Soledad Canyon land. Coming back to November 2017, Santa Clarita issued a negative declaration for its most recent annexation plan. A negative declaration differs from an environmental impact report, and while less stringent, Cemex states that it was not what the city agreed to do. Cemex is therefore suing Santa Clarita for civil rights violations established upon the city’s multiple and intentional violations of their 2006 settlement agreement. Cemex’s official decision is expected to be released between August and April 2018.

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Cemex Suing Santa Clarita