A battle over a massive quarry expansion sought near Santa Clarita took a new turn Tuesday when Rep. Howard P. "Buck" McKeon announced he will ask Congress to cap the mine's activity at roughly its current level.
The Santa Clarita Republican said a bill he plans to introduce next week is a compromise version of at least two legislative attempts by him since 1999 that sought to ban mining in Soledad Canyon because of widespread opposition to truck traffic and air pollution.
The new bill would require operations by Cemex, the Mexico-based quarry operator, to remain at "historic levels," which at most would be 10% of the future level sought by Cemex. The full expansion would extract 69 million tons of sand and gravel over 20 years, according to company officials.
McKeon's earlier legislation fell apart under strong lobbying by Cemex.
A company spokesman declined to say whether the new bill faces a similar fight, but McKeon acknowledged the legislation won't pass if Cemex or the federal agency that owns the property, the Bureau of Land Management, opposes it.