By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– State Senator Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, and Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R- Santa Clarita, sent a letter to U.S. Congressman Buck McKeon urging him to take action on the most important issue in Santa Clarita, stopping the CEMEX mega-mine.
If CEMEX begins mining Soledad Canyon site, it would become the largest aggregate mega-mine in the nation. The mega-mine will generate traffic of approximately 700 trucks trips per day, cause dust and particulates in the air, clog freeways, and harm wildlife, all while aiming to remove up to 56 million tons of aggregate over the next 20 years.
This week the House Armed Services Committee will begin marking up the Defense Authorization Bill and as chairman of the committee, McKeon controls the legislative process.
“We strongly urge you to submit an amendment to the Defense Authorization Bill that would declare State Highway 14 a ‘national defense asset’ that would ban the CEMEX mega-mine from moving forward. As you know, at its pinnacle the CEMEX mega-mine will generate 700 truck trips per day on Highway 14,” the letter states. “This request is not unprecedented as you took the same action early last decade…”
Over a decade ago McKeon submitted such as amendment to the Defense Bill. While the amendment language was accepted by his House colleagues it was pulled from the bill during Conference Committee. As Chairman of the Committee McKeon is in a place of authority to insert the amendment and protect the amendment when the bill goes to Conference Committee.
State Highway 14 is an important transportation corridor that serves as a link between L.A. Air Force Base and Naval Base Ventura County to Edwards Air Force Base, China Lake Naval Weapons Center and the defense and aerospace prime contractors headquartered at Plant 42 in Palmdale.
The letter continued, “In addition to protecting Highway 14 so our military can respond during a national crisis, there are other benefits as well. Without this amendment our local economy will be threatened and environmentally our quality of life will be degraded. Local residents will experience increased truck traffic congestion on State Route 14, ambient air quality will exceed California’s clean air standards, and a precipitous drop in real-estate value will occur if this mega-mine is permitted.”
Knight and Wilk concluded with a final plea, “This being your final year in Congress, it is your last chance to protect the people who have sent you to represent them over the last twenty-two years. Do the right thing and put your constituents first.”
The 38th Assembly District encompasses Simi Valley, the northern section of the San Fernando Valley and most of the Santa Clarita Valley.