Legislation introduced by Congressman Howard McKeon in December and recently supported by Senator Barbara Boxer would resolve a longstanding dispute between CEMEX and the City of Santa Clarita, which opposed a 1990 contract sponsored by BLM granting CEMEX rights to extract sand and gravel from Soledad Canyon. In order to resolve the dispute, the legislators propose selling BLM lands--already on the Bureau's "disposal list"--in the vicinity of Victorville and use the proceeds to compensate CEMEX. The City of Victorville and San Bernardino County would have first rights to purchase the land.
Although Soledad Canyon will be spared, the lands on BLM's disposal list amount to approximately 10,500 acres, with the bulk of those lands located just south and east of the Mojave Monkeyflower Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC). This general area was also targeted by the Victorville City Council for expansion of the City's boundaries (see previous post). Victorville's proposed expansion would have sought added residential areas, although San Bernardino County voiced opposition to aspects of the expansion, citing mineral resources in the adjacent BLM lands. The offer of BLM lands for sale could expedite development in the area and facilitate either industrial or residential expansion.
The map below, which is also available on Santa Clarita's website, depicts the areas for sale (outlined in blue, green and gold), and the Monkeyflower ACEC (in red).