Lands commission calls coastal sand mine in Marina unauthorized

MONTEREY BAY, Calif. -- The country's last remaining coastal sand mining operation is contributing to coastal erosion in Monterey County and operating in violation of state law, according to the California State Lands Commission.

The mine, on Lapis Road just north of Marina, is operated by Cemex - a multinational manufacturer and distributor of cement, concrete and construction aggregates that is headquartered in Mexico.

RELATED: Mexican corporation accused of damaging Monterey Bay coast

It uses an artificial dredge pond on land adjacent to the ocean to extract 200,000 cubic yards of sand per year. The pond is then replenished by sand from public lands on the South Monterey Bay shore during high tides and storms, according to the lands commission.

The lands commission estimates the recreational value of those beaches at over $13 million per year and says the South Monterey Bay shore is, on average, the most erosive sandy shore in the state.

"Stealing public resources for private profit without a lease is a violation of the state constitution and statute," Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said in a statement Tuesday as chair of the State Lands Commission.

If and when Cemex submits a lease application to continue operating the sand mine, the lands commission may require a California Environmental Quality Act analysis as part of the application review.

Cemex did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Click here to read the Cemex NOI Cease and Desist Order.
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