Why Has Vulcan Materials Paid Almost No Mining Taxes for the Last Eight Years?
One of the supposed benefits to the city of Azusa for allowing mining within its borders is the mining tax it collects based upon tonnage of rock mined within the city. However, for the last 8 years, Vulcan Materials has paid a total of only $44,000 in taxes to the city of Azusa.1 In fact, since Vulcan Materials purchased the Azusa Rock Quarry in 1999, the amount of tax collected by the city has dropped considerably.
In contrast to the paultry taxes paid by Vulcan Materials, Cemex, the other mining company in Azusa, has paid nearly 6 million dollars in mining taxes over the last 8 years.
The question of payment of taxes is a critical one regarding the trustworthiness of Vulcan Materials. In the draft EIR, on page 3-11, Vulcan made the critical error of reporting extraction data:
The 1990 EIS/EIR for the conveyor evaluated the mechanical transport of 7 million tons of aggregate material per year, which is the existing annual limit stipulated. Actual on-site production for a one-year period from the 4th quarter 2006 through the 3rd quarter of 2007 was 1.1 million tons.
This clear reference to aggregate production of 1.1 million tons for the 4th quarter 2006 through the 3rd quarter of 2007 implicates Vulcan in tax evasion, since, according to information released by the City in August, 2009, Vulcan paid no mining tax between 1st quarter 2002 to third quarter 2007.
In addition, on page 4.2-14 the DEIR reports:
The recent throughput figures for Azusa Rock from 2007 (Fourth Quarter) through 2008 (Third Quarter) are approximately 1.1 mtpy which is assumed as the Baseline throughput for the air quality assessment.
However, City provided numbers indicate taxes paid on only 849,382 tons (778,730 tons overburden and 70,652 tons aggregate). This is a clear case of underreporting.
Vulcan also reported mining over the last year at 1.1 million tons (page 1-6). As of June, 2009, they reported production and paid taxes on only 383,186 tons (both aggregate and overburden). The city of Azusa has denied our request for tax data for the remainder of 2009, based upon a legal threat from Vulcan Materials. It is not clear from the text if the 1.1 million tons represents aggregate or total tonnage, since the term "material" is used.2
More evidence of tax fraud
In trying to deal with the problem of increased aggregate reserves under the proposed mining plan, Vulcan inadvertently released data on total mining that has occurred at the Azusa Rock Quarry since 1988. According to Lilburn Corporation's report, 10.4 million tons of material have been mined since 1988.3 How many tons did Vulcan claim on their taxes? Only 6 million tons. According to Lilburn's estimate of 23.5% overburden, this means that Vulcan has failed to pay on 2.4 million tons of aggregate - or up to $1,100,000.
- Data was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act Request to the City Clerk's office of the City of Azusa.
- "The method of operation and transport of materials would remain as it currently exists. The transport of material would continue to be via the existing overland conveyor in-lieu of on-road haul trucks. Annual production is limited by the operationís current air quality permits to 10.8 million tons per year, and by the conveyor transport entitlement to 6 million tons per year, plus an additional 1 million tons per year by truck via the on-site haul road. The Proposed Project does not propose an increase in the total amount of material allowed or an extended mining period. It should be noted that the production level for the past year was approximately 1.1 million tons, due to the reduced demand associated with the economic recession."
- Responses to Questions on Volumes
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