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TEJON RANCH, CA-The Tejon Ranch Co. plans to move ahead with a 1,109-acre expansion of its Tejon Industrial Complex now that a Kern County Superior Court judge has ruled in its favor in a lawsuit that challenged the EIR for the project. Attorney Robert McMurry, a partner with Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker in Los Angeles, led the Tejon legal team. He tells GlobeSt.com that the ruling by Judge Kenneth Twisselman in effect clears the way for Tejon Ranch Co. to begin working on the expansion of the Tejon Industrial Complex, where a number of major distribution centers are already in place.The lawsuit against the EIR for the project was filed by the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups that challenged a number of aspects of the EIR, including its air quality analysis. The other petitioners included the Center on Race, Poverty and the Environment; the Sierra Club and the Kern Audobon Society.John Buse, a Chicago-based attorney who represented the Center for Biological Diversity, tells GlobeSt.com that the CBD has not yet decided if it will appeal the ruling. “We haven’t really talked about it yet,” he says, pointing out that the group has about two months to consider whether to appeal.Regardless of whether the CBD appeals, however, the recent court ruling “in effect, eliminates the last legal challenge because we can go forward now,” says McMurry, who led a Paul Hastings team that included A. Catherine Norian and Edgar Khalatian.”Even if they [the CBD] were to appeal, the project could now be commenced,” McMurry tells GlobeSt.com. Tejon Ranch plans to move forward with the project as quickly as is practical, according to a company spokesman. He tells GlobeSt.com that “We will begin with infrastructure and then move ahead with some deals that have been pending.”Tejon’s 1,109-acre expansion, called Tejon Industrial Complex-East, is planned for the east side of the I-5 Freeway and would eventually comprise approximately 15 million sf of buildings. The existing Tejon Industrial Complex is 350 acres on the west side of I-5. The Kern County Board of Supervisors originally approved the 1,109-acre expansion in 2003, but after the CBD filed its suit, Judge Twisselman ordered the county to do additional work on the EIR.The county then prepared a supplemental analysis to the EIR, after which the Kern County Supervisors approved the project again in November of last year. The CBD argued that the EIR was still insufficient, but Twisselman’s latest decision ruled that the supplemental analysis prepared by the county satisfied his previous court order to conduct an additional air quality analysis and correct certain errors in the EIR’s biological report.

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