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City of Fresno Preps Lawsuit Challenging County's CEMEX Extension: Source
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By Edward Smith
Published 9 months ago on
July 22, 2023

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The CEMEX controversy continues as city of Fresno officials may weigh in with legal action affecting the mining company.

A source with direct knowledge told GV Wire that the Fresno City Council in closed session Thursday directed Fresno City Attorney Andrew Janz to prepare a lawsuit regarding the decision from the Board of Supervisors Tuesday to give the mining company three more years to finish an environmental document.

The mining company’s permit was set to expire on July 28 before supervisors granted the company three more years to finish the Environmental Impact Report allowing them to dig deeper at the San Joaquin River and operate another 100 years.

City Has 30 Days to File Lawsuit

Before a lawsuit can be filed, however, Fresno City Council would have to give formal approval with a vote at a future meeting. The city has 30 days to file a lawsuit. They next meet on Aug. 10.

Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig, whose district includes CEMEX, said he would not comment on pending litigation but said it was interesting that items discussed in closed session were being leaked to the media.

A Fresno County spokeswoman said that officials do not comment on pending litigation.

Pacheco: Three-Year Extension Was a Compromise

CEMEX is a multi-billion dollar Mexican company with U.S. headquarters in Houston, Texas.

Supervisor Brian Pacheco said at Tuesday’s packed board meeting that given the company’s size and resources, it should have started the process sooner.

The company requested the EIR in 2019, four years before the expiration date.

Pacheco originally proposed only giving the mining company two years to finish the study, but after comments from county staff on timelines to finish the document, the board agreed to make the extension three years.

Wyatt Meadows, district representative for Operating Engineers Local Union 3, said shutting down CEMEX would negatively affect the entire Fresno area construction industry.

City Objects to Number of Truck Trips

Jennifer Clark, director of the Planning and Development Department with the city of Fresno, said the number of vehicle trips and the amount of aggregate extracted from the mining site has been out of compliance since the original EIR dating to 1986.

The multiple pedestrian and bicyclist deaths on Friant Road over the past five years can be attributed to increased traffic as the region expanded — something the authors of the 1986 EIR didn’t account for, Clark said.

But Magsig said a lot of the traffic is due to the northbound expansion of Fresno. And, when asked by Magsig whether the amount of aggregate mined from the site exceeded previous totals, the attorney for CEMEX  said the company would have run out of aggregate if that was the case.

GV Wire Reporter David Taub contributed to this story.

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Edward Smith,
Multimedia Journalist
Edward Smith began reporting for GV Wire in May 2023. His reporting career began at Fresno City College, graduating with an associate degree in journalism. After leaving school he spent the next six years with The Business Journal, doing research for the publication as well as covering the restaurant industry. Soon after, he took on real estate and agriculture beats, winning multiple awards at the local, state and national level. You can contact Edward at 559-440-8372 or at Edward.Smith@gvwire.com.

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