For Immediate Release, December 6, 2016
Kern County Approves Sprawling 8,000-acre Grapevine Development
Dooms Habitat for Imperiled Wildlife, Worsens Air Quality
BAKERSFIELD, Calif.— The Kern County Board of Supervisors today approved Tejon Ranchcorp’s disastrous Grapevine project, despite criticism from the Center for Biological Diversity about the harm the project will do to wildlife and nearby communities. The 8,000-acre development will straddle the San Joaquin Valley and Tehachapi Mountains and create a new city of up to 12,000 dwelling units and up to 5.1 million square feet of commercial real estate.
The project will destroy habitat for the endangered San Joaquin kit fox, blunt-nosed leopard lizard and threatened San Joaquin antelope squirrel, along with up to 36 other rare and imperiled species.
“The blunt-nosed leopard lizard and San Joaquin antelope squirrel are teetering on the brink of extinction,” said Ileene Anderson, a biologist with the Center. “It’s tragic that the county’s willing to sacrifice these species on the altar of an unsustainable sprawl development.”
At buildout the Grapevine project is expected to generate approximately 200,000 daily vehicle trips. Because of its remote location, most Grapevine residents will drive dozens of miles to employment centers in Bakersfield, Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. The substantial increase in vehicle trips will exacerbate traffic and air pollution.
“At a time when the residents of Kern County already suffer from some of the worst air pollution in the nation, the county should not be adding to residents’ burden by approving this sprawl,” said J.P. Rose, a Center attorney.
The Center and other environmental groups have raised concerns, in a series of comment letters, that the project’s environmental review did not adequately disclose or mitigate the development’s substantial environmental impacts, as required by the California Environmental Quality Act. During a hearing before the Board Dec. 6, Rose warned that the Grapevine Project contravenes smart-growth principles and will “chip away at California’s natural heritage.”
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.1 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.