Controversial beachfront sand mining operation along Monterey Bay to close

Posted In News, Sand Mining
Jun
27


Monterey Bay. CEMEX extracts about 200,000 yds3 of sand from this back beach pond every year. Photograph courtesy of: © Gary Griggs
“The portions of southern Monterey Bay shoreline have the highest erosion rates in the state. None of the documents reviewed for this report can offer any explanation for these anomalously high erosion rates beyond the sand extraction from the littoral zone at the Lapis Mine. The overwhelming evidence leads me to conclude that continued sand mining activities have led to a substantial sand deficit in southern Monterey Bay. This sand deficit is driving these anomalously high rates of coastal erosion. In order to grapple with the serious erosion problems in southern Monterey Bay, I recommend that the City of Marina pursue options to stop beach sand mining activities at the Lapis facility…” — Robert S. Young, PhD, PG,

Excerpts;

The last coastal sand mine in the United States, a facility on Monterey Bay that scientists say has caused significant erosion of beaches in the area, will close in three years under a settlement agreement announced Tuesday with California officials.

The facility, known as the CEMEX Lapis plant, has been in operation since 1906 and is located between Marina and Moss Landing. With smokestacks, conveyor belts and dredges, it produces an estimated 200,000 to 300,000 cubic yards of sand a year — enough to fill up to 30,000 dump trucks — that sells for about $4.70 a bag for a variety of uses from sand blasting to golf course sand traps to lining utility trenches.

It has operated for years without permits from the state, claiming that its operations pre-date state laws like the 1976 Coastal Act…

Read Full Article, The Mercury News (06-27-2017)

As day of reckoning closes in on Cemex, the city of Marina prepares to attack; Monterey County Weekly (06-07-2017)
In the fight to shut down the Cemex sand mine in Marina, the lines in the sand have been drawn. Diplomacy, up until now, has not borne fruit, and a looming battle is starting to take shape. On June 6, City Council voted 5-0 to authorize City Attorney Rob Wellington to explore legal options that would argue that the Cemex mine is a “public nuisance” due to its erosion impacts…

An Evaluation of the Ongoing Impacts of Sand Mining at the CEMEX Lapis Sand Plant in Marina, California on the Southern Monterey Bay Shoreline; By Robert S. Young, PhD; (05-29-2017)
The City of Marina commissioned this report to assist in its management and decision‐making for coastal property and resources within the City’s jurisdiction. This report provides a review and synthesis of available documentary information and scientific literature addressing the impact of current sand mining activities within southern Monterey Bay…

Ignoring state threats, firm keeps sucking sand from Monterey Bay, San Francisco Chronicle (03-03-2017)
The Lapis Sand Plant, in operation since 1906, is the nation’s last coastal sand mine. The California Coastal Commission has threatened to close the plant, but the company refuses to relinquish its claim to the uniquely coarse amber-colored Monterey sand, which it calls “Lapis Lustre.” But Cemex is the world’s second largest building materials company, and any attempt to kick it out is likely to immerse the state in years of expensive litigation.

Marina: Nation’s last coastal sand mine might be shut down by Coastal Commission; Mercury News (12-07-2016)

How to Steal a Beach, Atlas Obscura (07-18-2016)
In Northern California’s Monterey Bay, a peculiar thing happens every time there’s a storm. The California Coastal Commission says that a mining operation has been illegally taking precious sand for years…

Cemex mine reflects human hunger for sand, California; Monterey County Now (01-14-2016)
The disappearance of the beach reflects an alarming reality: Southern Monterey Bay, Marina in particular, has the highest coastal erosion rate in the state of California. For more than 20 years, scientists have speculated about the sand mine’s contribution to that erosion rate, and a 2008 study concluded it was the primary cause. The Cemex mine in Marina is the only remaining coastal sand mine in the entire United States. Which leads to new questions…

Monterey Bay, California: Beach Sand Mining from a National Marine Sanctuary; By Gary Griggs (09-01-2014)
The 30-mile long, continuous sandy shoreline around Monterey Bay is the most visited stretch of shoreline on the central coast. Yet, it holds the dubious distinction of being the only active beach sand mining operation along the entire United States shoreline. To make matters even worse, it all takes place along the shoreline of a protected National Marine Sanctuary. Something is seriously wrong with this picture…

The Conservation Crisis No One Is Talking About, By John R. Platt, TakePart (09-21-2016)
Beaches around the world are disappearing. No, the cause isn’t sea-level rise, at least not this time. It’s a little-known but enormous industry called sand mining, which every year sucks up billions of tons of sand from beaches, ocean floors, and rivers to make everything from concrete to microchips to toothpaste…

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