AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“Those are the arguments we’ll take to Washington.” McKeon said Wednesday in an exclusive interview that he wasn’t confident the bill would pass, given powerful federal mining laws backing the Cemex plan, but said he wants the issue “on the table.” “While I don’t believe that this bill is the final word on the Soledad mining issue, I do believe that it will serve to move the process forward,” McKeon said in a statement issued Thursday. Susana Duarte, a Cemex vice president, released a companystatement that said the company intends to move forward. “For more than a decade, this project has been on hold. It is an important one that would provide a much-needed resource in L.A. County and Southern California. Home foundations, schools, freeways and roads simply cannot be constructed without this resource without adding significant cost,” the company statement. In the past, the company has said it would be willing to mine elsewhere if a site were offered. But neither the BLM nor Cemex intends at this point to back down. Under current plans, the company expects to begin mining by next year. Still, city officials are confident. “(McKeon) indicated passage (of his bill) is going to be difficult, but that’s not to say it can’t happen and won’t happen,” Murphy said. “We just need to work with him very closely.” The bill’s first step is a review by the House Resources Committee, chaired by U.S. Rep. Richard Pombo, a Republican from California’s Central Valley. Santa Clarita has spent more than $6 million in its battle against the mine, including buying a portion of the land – but not the mineral rights – that the mine would sit on. “There is no doubt in my mind that Santa Clarita’s concerns are real …,and that they have genuine concerns,” McKeon said in the statement. “For its part, Cemex wants to be compensated. My legislation is a first step toward … bringing balance to those two positions and to get(getting) the parties to begin to talk about solutions, instead of talking about their problems.” The McKeon legislation would cancel the Cemex leases and prohibit the BLM from re-leasing the land, except for mining at “historic levels,” defined in the billas 300,000 tons of aggregate a year. In exchange, Cemex would be given minerals of equal value in the form of credits that can be used in other areas of California. [email protected] (661) 257-5251160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SANTA CLARITA – City Hall rallied Thursday behind U.S. Rep. Howard P. “Buck” McKeon – Santa Clarita’s first mayor – as he introduced the Soledad Canyon Mine Leases Adjustment Act, a bill to help resolve the ongoing dispute over the planned Cemex mine in Canyon Country. Michael Murphy, the city’s intergovernmental relations officer, said Santa Clarita officials will travel to Washington, D.C., to lobby for passage of the bill. The legislation would cancel the current agreement with the federal Bureau of Land Management that allows Cemex to mine a staggering 56.1 million tons of sand and gravel from Soledad Canyon, near the headwaters of the Santa Clara River. The aggregate, used to make cement, would help fuel California’s building industry. “The argument that we’ve been making all along on this issue is the negative impact this mine would have on our air quality, the significant increase in traffic on local roads and State Route 14 and the negative impact on overall quality of life in the Santa Clarita Valley,” Murphy said.