The California Department of Conservation announced that legislation sponsored by the California Construction & Industrial Materials Association (CalCIMA) has saved 108 aggregate and mineral operations from inadvertently having to cease operations. This helps California’s economic recovery and prevents adverse environmental impacts for the state.
“California is dependent on local supplies of aggregates and minerals to build its roads, homes, schools and hospitals, fertilize its farm lands, and supply local manufacturing,” said Gary W. Hambly, president and CEO of CalCIMA. “Without these local materials, it would be much more difficult for many sectors of California’s economy to recover.”
California law broadly required that any extraction operation that produced 90 percent below a historical level was required to file an “interim management plan.” Operations that failed to file the interim plan could be considered abandoned and required to begin reclamation.
Many aggregate and mineral operations experienced drastic reductions in production when the economic downturn occurred in 2007-2008. This was a unique circumstance, resulted in an unintended consequence under state law and, thus, many operations were unaware of the “interim management plan” requirement.
In response to this situation, CalCIMA sponsored SB 108, which was authored by Sen. Michael Rubio (D-Bakersfield). The bill became law on Jan. 1, 2012. It provided an amnesty period until July 1, 2013, to submit interim management plans and updated the formula for calculating production changes.
“If the operations had been considered abandoned, there would have been reliance on more distant sources of materials, which would have meant increased diesel emissions, increased fuel usage, increased greenhouse gas emissions, and increased wear and tear on our roads to bring the materials to market,” said Hambly. “If truck haul distances are increased by even 25 miles to transport materials, the Department of Conservation has estimated that half a million tons of carbon dioxide emissions are added.”
At the July 11 meeting of the State Mining and Geology Board (SMGB), John Parrish, the Acting Director for the Office of Mine Reclamation at the Department of Conservation, reported that his office had received 108 interim management plans under SB 108 prior to the July 1 deadline.