CEMEX Cease and Desist
|Summary||Since the early 1900s, sand mining companies have extracted sand from the Monterey coast. Although almost all were eventually shut down, one located in Marina has continued to take sand from the coast for several decades. This plant, owned by CEMEX, has also long been the subject of controversy in the community as it had become apparent that the Monterey coast was the fastest eroding coastline in California, likely due to the sand mining operations. In March, 2016, after years of urging by residents and the accumulation of scientific evidence, the Coastal Commission’s enforcement division informed CEMEX that a cease-and-desist order was imminent. As a result, settlement discussions between the sand mining corporation and Commission staff subsequently followed..
Meanwhile, on May 16, 2017, also in response to community activism, the State Lands Commission (SLC) wrote a letter to CEMEX, stating that the extraction of sand by the dredge pond required a lease that the company did not have and that the extraction of sand from the dredge pond without compensation to the state constituted expropriation of public property in violation of the California Constitution. The SLC further alleged that the sand extraction operation was a nuisance. Then, on June 6, 2017, the Marina City Council adopted a resolution finding that the dredge pond extraction operation constitutes a public nuisance. In the meantime, Commission enforcement staff continued negotiations with CEMEX and ultimately reached a consent order to resolve the alleged Coastal Act violations.
The agreement requires that CEMEX stop sand mining on the property after three years; caps the amount of sand that can be mined during this time; requires CEMEX to remove dredges and other equipment from the property; abstains from causing any further changes in intensity of use; undertakes reclamation of the property and protects sensitive species on site; and ultimately transfers the property to an approved nonprofit or governmental entity for conservation at a reduced price, with a deed restriction to protect the access and the habitat at the site in perpetuity.
Commissioner Mary Shallenberger motioned to approve the consent order pursuant to staff’s recommendation. She offered appreciation to enforcement staff and Cemex for the momentous decision. She added that the 3-year allowance is a reasonable time frame to allow CEMEX wind down operations and transition its staff. Commissioner Donne Brownsey seconded the motion. Commissioners unanimously approved staff’s recommendation and thus marked a momentous and historic decision in support of coastal protection.
|Outcome Description||The Agreement serves multiple purposes, including: 1) it provides interim operating conditions necessary to limit the scope of the operation and protect coastal resources while the unpermitted development is phased out; 2) it establishes a finite date for the sand extraction operations to cease, by December 31, 2020; 3) it establishes a maximum amount of sand that may be removed during the cessation period in any given year to 240,000 tons/year (approximately 177,000 cu yards/year); 4) it requires CEMEX to undertake restoration and reclamation activities to restore the habitat values of the Property; 5) it provides an additional three year period to wind down operations on the upland portion of the property and to begin reclamation and restoration activities, and provide for a period of time for transition of employees (no additional mining of sand will occur during this period); 6) it requires CEMEX to transfer the Property, at a reduced purchase price, to a non-profit or governmental entity approved by the Commission; 7) it requires as part of any sale, a deed restriction be put in place to protect the property and limit the potential uses of the property to conservation- related purposes, including but not limited to public access, conservation, low-impact passive recreation, and public education, which will improve public access and habitat on the site in the future; 8) it provides for CEMEX to withdraw its Vested Rights Claim and Statement of Defense and agree not to sue the Coastal Commission over the issuance or enforcement of this Agreement; and 9) it provides for monitoring reports and significant penalties for violations of the agreement.|
|Why You Should Care||The sand that is extracted by the mining operation is permanently removed from the littoral cell, altering natural shoreline processes and the local shoreline sand supply. The effects include significantly contributions to erosion within the beach and dune system, which has led to increased shoreline retreat, dune erosion, reduction of habitat, loss of beach sand, and decreased public access.
The sand mine is located in an area with some of the highest erosion rates in the state. This settlement agreement will preserve 400 acres of open space and opens up the potential for public access. Future access of this property will link up over 7,000 acres of contiguous open space and coastal dune habitat.
|Decision Type||Cease and Desist Consent Order|
|Staff Recommendation||Cease and Desist Approval|
|Opposition to Project|
|Coastal Act Policies||Chapter 3|
Voting Detail for CEMEX Cease and Desist
|Mary K. Shallenberger|
View Meeting Page for the meeting where this issue was discussed/voted on.