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Congress needs to back mining bill

Our View: Cemex mining bill

Posted: August 5, 2008 8:30 p.m.
Updated: October 7, 2008 5:02 a.m.

Amid much fanfare, backslapping, and a press conference staged with a bucolic backdrop, officials from two cities and Cemex joined our own local congressman to announce breakthrough legislation.

Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon had hammered out a remarkable agreement.

It called for Cemex, which had been cast as the evil Mexican corporate concrete giant, to give up its proposed, and much-opposed, Soledad Canyon mine in favor of some land in Victorville.

Santa Clarita, which had fought the mine for nearly a decade, was happy. Cemex was happy. Victorville officials also were happy.

The cliche "win-win" was trotted out for the occasion. But it was apt.

That was in April.

Now it's August, and the bill that would make everybody happy is still languishing in the House Ways and Means Committee. It hasn't even made it to the critical House Committee on Natural Resources, let alone the floor of the House, nor the necessary round of Senate scrutiny before it could become law.

McKeon's deputy chief of staff, Bob Haueter, says there's still hope for a committee hearing before Congress adjourns; its target adjournment date is Sept. 26.

But Congress is out on a five-week-long summer vacation.

We're not feeling so optimistic about the outlook for the Soledad Canyon Mining Act.

McKeon has gathered support from a number of House of Representatives members, but California senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer haven't endorsed it.

We could sit back, cross our arms in disapproval and blame McKeon for the lack of progress.

Or we could recognize that the bill would benefit the entire Santa Clarita Valley and join together to give Buck a hand.

The giant mine proposed by Cemex would add an endless parade of sand and gravel trucks to the Highway 14 Freeway, sully our air with particulates and turn a Canyon Country-area hillside into an ugly gash.

It's in all our interests to do what we can to ensure that the "win-win" scenario painted in April actually wins.

We encourage all Santa Clarita Valley residents to contact politicians and bureaucrats who are in positions to help McKeon's bill become a law. Let your voice be heard loudly and clearly in support of the Soledad Canyon Mining Act.


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