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Proposed Settlement Would Shut Down CEMEX Sand Mine in Marina

The CEMEX sand mine on the beach in Marina will close after being targeted for violating the California Coastal Act.  That’s according the a proposed settlement between the California Coastal Commission and CEMEX. 

The Lapis Sand Mine in Marina is the last beach sand mining operation in California.  For more than a century sand has been taken off the coast and sold for many uses including construction and on golf courses.  All that is set to be phased out by December 31st, 2020, if the California Coastal Commission approves this proposed settlement at its July meeting in Seaside.      

“So this is not a done deal.  It’s not until they vote and they can ink our side of the settlement,” says Lisa Haage, Chief of Enforcement for the Commission.  She helped negotiate the settlement.

“We were trying to figure out something that could be a relatively short faze down.  They’ve been in operation since 1906, and we realized that they were not going to agree to shut down immediately,” she says.

The agreement  limits the amount to sand that can be removed over the coming three years.  And also provides another three years for CEMEX to close up shop, while not extracting sand.  The plant has roughly 20 employees.

A CEMEX spokesperson was unavailable to interview for this story.  But released a statement that said, in part, that it believes it has all the entitlements to operate, but it always strives to be a good neighbor.  And it has agreed to phase out operations.

“I think it’s way better than anything we would’ve gotten if we had gone to litigation,” says Kevin Miller, Chair of the Monterey Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.  Surfrider is one of the groups that pushed hard for the mine’s closure.

“This could have dragged on for ten years in litigation.  With the agreement we know the mine will close by the end of the 2020.  And that it has to be turned into open space.  So I think it’s a big win for Monterey Bay,” says Miller.

According to the agreement, the property will be sold with a deed restriction to protect it for public access and conservation.  And that CEMEX will sell the side at a reduced price to a non-profit or governmental agency. 

The next California Coastal Commission Meeting is July 12th-July 14th at the CSUMB World Theater.  This settlement will come up for a vote on July 13th.  To read the agreement, click here for the Commission’s agenda.  Go to July 13th in the tab.  Scroll down agenda item 22.

Krista joined KAZU in 2007. She is an award winning journalist with more than a decade of broadcast experience. Her stories have won regional Edward R. Murrow Awards and honors from the Northern California Radio and Television News Directors Association. Prior to working at KAZU, Krista reported in Sacramento for Capital Public Radio and at television stations in Iowa. Like KAZU listeners, Krista appreciates the in-depth, long form stories that are unique to public radio. She's pleased to continue that tradition in the Monterey Bay Area.
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