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Richard Myers: It’s not a matter of benefit, but rather preventing calamity

SCV Voices

Posted: May 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: May 27, 2012 1:55 a.m.

Time is quickly running out for a means to stop the Cemex mine north of Canyon Country from becoming a reality.

There is no question that the operation of the mine will foul the air and clog Highway 14 with gravel trucks.

But our Republican friends in the Congress, including our own Howard "Buck" McKeon, are helpless because they previously banned all earmarks - legislation that would benefit one congressional district.

While I applaud the idea of stopping earmarks, I think the good folks in Washington need to take a good look at the definition of an earmark and our situation with the Cemex mine.

The legislation for a land trade that would take the mine to another area is not a "benefit to one congressional district."

First of all, it is not a benefit in the true sense of the meaning.

It does not add to the district's well-being, but rather, it prevents a calamity from happening.

That's a real difference.

Let's look at an imaginary scenario to illustrate the point: Farming town "X" has vast acres of corn and the crops are almost ready for harvest, but hordes of locusts are on their way and will certainly devastate the town.

But wait - the federal government can spend the money to create a huge net and capture the locusts and save the town. (Yeah, I know it's far-fetched, but it makes the point.)

Shucks, the government can't save the town ‘cause that would be an earmark.

Or how about this scenario: The people in cozy little town "Y" have a problem. Three hundred miles above the town and to the east, a large dam has failed and heavy rains have been falling for weeks. There is a certainty that the town will be swept away next week.

But wait - the federal government could spend the money to divert rivers and save the town, if only that would not be considered an earmark.

I think your readers get the point, but there is something else: The Cemex mine would not just affect one district.

Travelers along Highway 14 certainly come from and go to other districts. Their travel time will be impacted, and we can expect respiratory illness to increase not just for Santa Clarita Valley residents but for those traveling Highway 14 to other districts.

On the other hand, there are some economic benefits to be had when the mine begins operation: First of all, the pollutants that will be in the air will certainly play havoc with our modern car systems, and so we can expect auto repair shops here and in neighboring districts to do a booming business.

Also, since there will undoubtedly be many instances of snarled traffic, we can expect drivers throughout the area to be in need of mental health assistance.

Certainly the pharmaceutical industry will prosper.

Psychologists, take note.

Richard Myers is a Valencia resident.



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