Monday, May 26, 2008

AP press has a story today that was carried in several local papers about a large potential development that would take place in condor habitat. Tejon Ranch Co. is a publicly traded company whose primary asset is Tejon Ranch, a 426-square-mile area about 60 miles north of Los Angeles that is the largest unbroken expanse of land under single ownership in California. The project to build 3,450 housing units on land used as a feeding ground by condors is just one piece of far larger Tejon Ranch Co. plan to build what amounts to a mid-size city that could eventually bring more than 70,000 people to the area. Two years ago, the company began negotiating a compromise with the environmental groups, ultimately agreeing to set aside a huge tract atop the Tehachapi Mountains that is home to elk, wild turkeys, coyotes, bears, eagles and the California condor.

Take a look and see what you think. Good plan or bad plan? On the one hand:

David Clendenen, a condor expert:

"For us, the ultimate line in the sand is you don't allow development in designated critical habitat, and it's that simple."

On the other hand:

Many environmentalists are delighted by the deal, under which Tejon will set aside an extraordinary 375 square miles for the bird and other wildlife. It would be the biggest parcel in California history to be designated for conservation. Five of the nation's most influential environmental groups, including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and Audubon California, helped negotiate the plan and gave it their blessing when it was announced earlier this month.

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