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SR-96 (2017-2018)

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SR96:v97#DOCUMENT

Enrolled  July 03, 2018
Passed  IN  Senate  July 02, 2018
Amended  IN  Senate  April 17, 2018

CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE— 2017–2018 REGULAR SESSION

Senate Resolution No. 96


Introduced by Senators Wilk and Stern

March 21, 2018


Relative to Soledad Canyon


LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST


SR 96, Wilk.

WHEREAS, The Santa Clara River constitutes the last natural-flowing river in southern California; and
WHEREAS, The Santa Clara River, particularly in the area near Soledad Canyon just outside the City of Santa Clarita, has been identified in a number of studies involving several state, federal, and private entities as having significant ecological natural resources; and
WHEREAS, This stretch of river serves as a habitat for numerous threatened, endangered, and fully protected wildlife species; and
WHEREAS, Among the most significant and most at-risk species present in the area is the unarmored threespine stickleback, a fish on both the state fully protected species list and the federal endangered species list; and
WHEREAS, The Santa Clara River is the primary and only confirmed natural habitat for the unarmored threespine stickleback, and its protection and preservation is vital to the survival of the species; and
WHEREAS, A massive mining project currently proposed along the Santa Clara River in Soledad Canyon would bring one of the nation’s largest aggregate mines to this pristine natural canyon and deplete water flow from the already drought-taxed river where fish, waterfowl, and other wildlife, including the unarmored threespine stickleback, depend on the flow for survival; and
WHEREAS, The purveyor of the proposed mine, has aggressively pursued all available avenues, including lawsuits against the City of Santa Clarita and the County of Los Angeles, as well as appeals to the United States Bureau of Land Management and United States Department of the Interior, to complete its proposed mine despite unanimous opposition in the surrounding communities of the County of Los Angeles; and
WHEREAS, The completion of the mining project in Soledad Canyon would harm not only the wildlife and river within and downstream of the canyon but also the surrounding communities; and
WHEREAS, The mine proposal would include thousands of additional truck and vehicle trips daily on the already congested commuter route, State Highway 14; and
WHEREAS, Congestion on State Highway 14 is already a major source of vehicular air pollution throughout the Antelope Valley region of the County of Los Angeles; and
WHEREAS, Vehicular air pollution has greatly impacted the disadvantaged communities of the Antelope Valley and has led to environmental justice inequities for area residents; and
WHEREAS, It is a stated priority of the Legislature to enact policies that protect our natural rivers, our pristine open space, our vulnerable species, our environmental quality in whole, our citizens against environmental injustices, and the quality of life for the residents of California; and
WHEREAS, The proposed mine in Soledad Canyon displays the unique qualities of having a negative impact on all of these, and other, state priorities; and
WHEREAS, Congress in 2018 passed a bipartisan omnibus appropriation bill that was approved and signed by President Trump and included language that prohibited the further development of mining operations in Soledad Canyon beyond the current proposal. It was a clear expression of their opinion of the site’s long-term unsuitability for mining; now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the Senate of the State of California, That it is the intent of the Senate to enact legislation to prevent the further development of the proposed mining project in the Soledad Canyon area of the County of Los Angeles; and be it further
Resolved, That the Senate urges the Congress and the President of the United States to enact legislation that prevents the further development of the proposed mining project in the Soledad Canyon area of the County of Los Angeles; and be it further
Resolved, That the Senate urges the United States Department of the Interior and the United States Bureau of Land Management to deny, in an expeditious manner, all pending appeals and claims before them that would allow the continued development of the proposed mining project in the Soledad Canyon area of the County of Los Angeles; and be it further
Resolved, That the Secretary of the Senate transmit copies of this resolution to the President and Vice President of the United States, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the Majority Leader of the Senate, the Secretary of the Interior, the Director of the United States Bureau of Land Management, and the author for appropriate distribution.