Cemex has filed a lawsuit against the city of Santa Clarita, Calif., claiming breach of contract, civil rights violations, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and declaratory relief in response to city plans to annex the site of a sand-and-gravel mine in Soledad Canyon. The lawsuit maintains that the city tried to annex the site in order to manage it and shut down the mining project.
The lawsuit claims that the city has made “numerous and deliberate violations of a settlement agreement between Cemex and the city that resolved prior litigation brought by Cemex several years ago challenging the city’s improper efforts in 2005 to annex Cemex’s mining site, in much the same way as the city seeks now in 2017 to improperly annex that same Cemex mining site, along with other improper actions.”
According to the lawsuit:
“Now, 12 years after signing the settlement agreement, the city and its affiliates are acting in total disregard of the settlement agreement’s terms, and have breached the agreement in multiple ways. The city has once again proposed to annex the Soledad Canyon Project site, once again without the environmental review and notices to Cemex that are required under the settlement agreement and state law. For the 2005 Annexation Project, the city effectively admitted that it deliberately failed to mention or discuss the Soledad Canyon Project or the fact that the United States owned the mineral estate in and around the Soledad Canyon Project Site. The city also admitted, in multiple public statements, that the true purpose of the annexation was to interfere with and stop the Soledad Canyon Project. With the 2017 Annexation Project, the city has done, and is doing, precisely the same things for the same reason.“This latest salvo in the city’s relentless campaign against the Soledad Canyon Project, with the city’s varying forms of political influence, bad-faith litigation tactics, and public relations smear campaigns, strikes a chord remarkably similar to the facts in a recent judicial ruling involving unlawful actions taken by public officials and project opponents to block the operations of two surface mining companies. The city’s illegal actions will fare no better in this case.”
Santa Clarita City Council members reportedly approved a pair of $20,000 lobbying contracts last fall to support its effort to keep the Cemex sand-and-gravel mine away from Soledad Canyon.