[IMGCAP(2)]The agreement comes after years of sometimes friendlyand sometimes not-so-friendly jostling between Tejon Ranch Co. andenvironmental groups over the future of the Tejon Ranch, one of thelargest and most pristine landholdings in California and possiblythe US. As reported on GlobeSt.com in 2006, Tejon won a lawsuitfiled by environmental groups regarding its plans to for a1,109-acre expansion of the Tejon Industrial Complex. Among theplaintiffs in that suit was the Sierra Club, which is one of thegroups that has signed the new agreement.

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The new agreement provides that the Tejon Ranch Co. willpermanently protect approximately 178,000 acres through acombination of dedicated conservation easements, either initiallydedicated or tied to project approvals, and designated as projectopen space areas. The agreement also lays the groundwork for thepurchase, at a price determined by a state appraisal process, of anadditional 62,000 acres of ranch land, resulting in a total of240,000 acres of conserved land.

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The agreement is between Tejon Ranch Co. and a group oforganizations including the Sierra Club, the Natural ResourcesDefense Council, Audubon California, the Planning and ConservationLeague and the Endangered Habitats League. The planned developmentson the 30,000 acres specified in the agreement would include thecommunities of Centennial and Tejon MountainVillage, and a development project at the base of the Grapevinein the area adjacent to Tejon IndustrialComplex.

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The agreement is described by Tejon Ranch Co. board memberMichael H. Winer as "Without a doubt...good for the company and itsshareholders." Winer is portfolio manager for Third AvenueManagement LLC, the company's largest shareholder. He says that by"removing the potential obstacles that have plagued similardevelopment efforts in California, we'll be able to move ahead withthe entitlement processes on our current development projects in amuch more timely fashion."

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As Tejon Ranch Co. expresses it in its announcement regardingthe agreement, the company over the years "had routinely engaged inconversations with environmental groups and government agenciesthat could have an interest in or influence over the planned futureactivities on its land." Those conversations evolved into two yearsof formal negotiations with the environmental organizations thathave signed the new agreement.

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Robert A. Stine, president and CEO of Tejon Ranch Co., calls theagreement "good for conservation, good for California and good forthe company and its shareholders."The company says that the dealwith the environmental groups "is strongly supported by key stategovernment officials, including California Gov. ArnoldSchwarzenegger, the secretaries of the California Department ofResources and the California Environmental Protection Agency, thedirectors of the California Departments of Fish and Game and Parksand Recreation, along with the director of the WildlifeConservation Board and the chair of the State Water ResourcesBoard.

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