Nation's Highest Court Rules Consent Decree Stands.
The U.S. Supreme Court denied the city of Santa Clarita's lawsuit, or its request for review known as petition for certiorari, effectively allowing the Consent Decree to stand and the Soledad Canyon quarry project to move forward. The ruling prevents the city from further attempts to stop the legally binding Consent Decree from taking effect.
The proposed Soledad Canyon quarry, on the backside of the mountain, is a vital source of sand and gravel for Southern California. Currently, Los Angeles County alone uses 34 million tons of aggregates each year for construction projects including building homes, schools, and hospitals, and constructing new roads to help alleviate traffic congestion. Once operational, the Soledad Canyon Project is allowed to produce between 1.4 million and 5 million tons each year, impacting only 177 acres or less over the life of the project.
In its petition for certiorari, the city of Santa Clarita had alleged the Consent Decree intruded on the rights of the city. Under this Consent Decree, Los Angeles County agreed to cease opposing and delaying the issuance of county approvals for the development of the mine site after the U.S. Bureau of Land Management had granted the company's predecessor the rights to the sand and gravel on the 460-acre site in 2000. The Consent Decree also allows the county to complete its environmental review process, and to impose on the project a host of environmental and socially beneficial conditions not otherwise required.
"We are pleased with the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling, which we feel clearly confirms that the Consent Decree is proper and consistent with all applicable laws," said Gilberto Perez, President of CEMEX USA. "The Soledad Canyon Project has gone through an extensive review process and has been granted approvals by the local, state and federal agencies, and now reaffirmed by the courts. The U.S. Supreme Court's decision gives us the confidence to move forward with the development of the site," said Perez.
On February 13, 2006, the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the U.S. District Court's previous judgment that the Consent Decree was valid and entered into in good faith by CEMEX, Inc., the County of Los Angeles, and the United States in 2004.
CEMEX has followed the federal and state processes for the necessary surface mining permit. The project is required to comply with the laws and regulations of numerous environmental agencies, including the South Coast Air Quality Management District. CEMEX is legally bound by the Consent Decree and is committed to employing numerous mitigation measures for air and water quality, wildlife protection, and visual issues.
CEMEX is a growing global building solutions company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. Commemorating its 100th anniversary in 2006, CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through its efforts to pursue innovative industry solutions and efficiency advancements and to promote a sustainable future. For more information, visit www.cemexusa.com.