Center for Biological Diversity

For Immediate Release, August 10, 2017

Contact: John Buse, (323) 533-4416, jbuse@biologicaldiversity.org

Appeal Challenges Massive Growth Plans for L.A. County's Antelope Valley

LOS ANGELES— The Center for Biological today filed an appeal challenging Los Angeles County’s blueprint for sprawling development in rural Antelope Valley. The recently revised area plan now paves the way for creating entirely new towns, including Tejon Ranch Company’s Centennial project, which would add around 20,000 new houses to the northwestern part of the valley. Such development is unsustainable in this arid but ecologically rich region.

Antelope Valley covers a vast, 1,800-square mile portion of northern L.A. County, which includes an incredible variety of landscapes ranging from rugged mountains and deserts to forests, playa lakes and stunning wildflower fields. The original plan update expanded protections for many of those unique habitats, but the L.A. County Board of Supervisors chose to scale back those protections at the last minute with no review.

“The board pulled a fast one on the public with last-minute revisions that push massive sprawl development in Antelope Valley’s most fragile wild areas,” said John Buse, a Center senior attorney. “Supervisors shrugged off the valley’s irreplaceable wildlife and plant communities, as well as requirements of California’s environmental laws. This new plan is an insult to open government and a grave threat to imperiled animals.”

Today’s appeal comes after a Los Angeles Superior Court ruling in May that L.A. County did not violate the California Environmental Quality Act when it approved the new Antelope Valley Area Plan, despite the significant changes and rollbacks of environmental protection in the plan after preparation of Environmental Impact Report. The Center intends to challenge this misunderstanding of what the law requires.

The plan threatens the mostly rural, agricultural, open-space lands of Antelope Valley that are unincorporated. Areas marked for development provide crucial habitat for endangered and rare wildlife, including the California condor, bald eagle, desert tortoise, pronghorn, and Mohave ground squirrel.

Today’s appeal was filed in the 2nd District Court of Appeal against the county of Los Angeles and the Board of Supervisors for the county of Los Angeles.

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.

www.biologicaldiversity.org

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