On Wednesday, State Senator Scott Wilk , R-Santa Clarita, announced that Senate Bill 520 passed out of its first policy committee, and if ratified would let the public weigh in on large projects approved more than 30 years before they are constructed.
Wilk, of the 21st Senate District, announced Wednesday that SB 520 passed out of its first policy committee, with the bill reportedly allowing public input to projects approved more than 30 years before existence, such as the controversial CEMEX mega-mine project.
“I am happy to report that SB 520 passed out of the Senate Natural Resources & Water Committee with unanimous support,” said Wilk. “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.”
Co-Authored by Assemblymember Suzette Valladares, R-Santa Clarita, SB 520 would reportedly ensure that the State Water Resources Control Board would provide public notice and hearings on projects such as the CEMEX mega-mine.
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 have allowed for the mining of 56 million tons of sand and gravel from Soledad Canyon, which would have added up to 1,164 truck trips a day to local roads and freeways.
As written, the bill “if the board has not rendered a final determination on an application for a permit to appropriate water within 30 years from the date the application was filed, would require the board to issue a new notice and provide an opportunity for protests before rendering a final determination, with specified exceptions.”
The Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste of Santa Clarita commented that California’s review of long-pending and severely outdated water appropriation applications could be helped by SB 520.
“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,” said Weste. “Additionally, this legislation is critical in protecting groundwater, rivers and tributaries, and some of the state’s most iconic wildlife.”
The new bill will reportedly head to the Senate Appropriations Committee in the coming weeks for its fiscal impact to be considered by the committee.
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