Senator Scott Wilk, representing the 21st Senate District, announces that his Senate Bill 520 (SB 520), which would allow the public to weigh in before the CEMEX Mega-Mine can proceed, has passed out of the Senate Committee on Appropriations with unanimous bipartisan support.
“The Senate Appropriations Committee recognized that the bill would have minimal and absorbable costs to the state, while providing an immense benefit for communities that will be impacted by proposed large mining operations,” stated Wilk. “I look forward to presenting this bill to the full Senate next.”
SB 520, coauthored by Assemblywoman Suzette Valladares (R-Santa Clarita), would provide the public an opportunity to weigh in on a large mining project whose water appropriation permit application was filed with the State Water Resources Control Board over 30 years ago before the board makes a final determination on the application. This legislation would apply to projects such as the CEMEX Mega-Mine in the Santa Clarita Valley, which has been subject to decades of ongoing litigation and local community opposition.
In 1991, CEMEX’s previous owners applied to appropriate 322 acre-feet per year from the Santa Clara River, the last natural river in Southern California. In 2019, after almost three decades and no public hearings, the State Water Resources Control Board moved the status of the application from ‘pending’ to ‘on hold’ due to longstanding litigation on the project. However, should the application be reactivated, the time period for filing protests has long passed. As dynamics of water availability have changed significantly for the state as a whole due to climate change and more frequent droughts, SB 520 allows community members to provide current hydrological data to the board as to the impact the project will have on their water supply.
SB 520 previously passed unanimously out of the Senate Natural Resources and Water Committee, where Santa Clarita Mayor Pro Tem Laurene Weste testified in support. The bill will now proceed to the Senate Floor for consideration by the body as a whole in the coming days.