‘Rubber dodo’ for anti-environment US developer

This video from the USA is called California Condors in Arizona by the Arizona Game and Fish Department.

From Wildlife Extra:

Rubber Dodo award for US real estate developer who specialises in unsustainable development

11/11/2009 09:59:54

Land Speculator Michael Winer Wins 2009 Rubber Dodo Award

November 2009. The Center for Biological Diversity has announced that the winner of its third annual Rubber Dodo Award is Michael Winer, portfolio manager for the giant real-estate investment firm Third Avenue Management, LLC (“TAREX”). The Rubber Dodo is awarded each year to the person who has done the most to drive endangered species extinct. The 2007 winner was Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne; the 2008 winner was Alaska Governor Sarah Palin.

TAREX – Destroying condor habitat

Winer is deserving of the 2009 award for his leadership of TAREX, the largest stockholder in companies developing the largest pieces of private land remaining in Southern California and Florida. These regions are also home to some the highest numbers of endangered species in North America. In California, TAREX is pushing the Tejon Ranch Company to pave over thousands of acres of federally designated California condor habitat. In Florida, TAREX is pushing the St. Joe Company to flood tens of thousands of acres of the Florida Panhandle with high-end developments.

Unsustainable, endangered-species-killing sprawl

“Under Winer’s money-obsessed leadership, TAREX has become the poster child for unsustainable, endangered-species-killing sprawl,” said Adam Keats, director of the Center’s Urban Wildlands Program. “He specializes in finding massive, remote estates far from urban centers and turning them into a sea of condos, malls, golf courses, and resorts. There is good reason that even Wall Street commonly calls TAREX a ‘real-estate vulture’.”

Chamber of Commerce awarded Rubber Dodo for being ‘one of the most environmentally destructive forces in America’: here.

4 thoughts on “‘Rubber dodo’ for anti-environment US developer

  1. Deal threatens condors’ wild place

    Adam Keats

    Sunday, February 28, 2010

    Tejon Ranch, one of California’s crown jewels, is threatened by three huge development projects – new cities that would devastate one of the last great wild places in California, habitat to numerous endangered and threatened species.

    These developments would clog the already overburdened Interstate 5 with smog-spewing traffic in an area with the worst air quality in the country. And they would siphon more water from the nearly broken State Water Project, their thousands of homes forever dependent on unsustainable “paper water.”

    Unfortunately, opposition to Tejon’s plans is muted: In 2008, Tejon signed a highly publicized “conservation agreement” with five environmental groups that precludes those groups from opposing the plan.

    The Center for Biological Diversity was the sixth group at the table, working for more than two years with Tejon to protect the ranch cooperatively. We walked away when it became apparent that Tejon would never give up on its plan to destroy thousands of acres of designated critical habitat for the endangered California condor. We could not sign off on a plan that would doom one of the world’s most iconic species, still teetering on the brink of extinction.

    And we could not sign off on the severe environmental consequences of the plan, consequences that far outweigh the weak protections for the rest of the ranch provided by the deal.

    Tejon claims that only 30,000 acres of the ranch would be developed, but this figure omits the 28,000 acres of greenways and open spaces inside the developments that make them economically viable yet provide little to no wildlife habitat. Most of the remaining 212,000 acres would be protected only through conservation easements that would allow Tejon to continue its current activities – mining, oil and gas drilling, power plants, hunting and grazing – while severely limiting public access. Worse, 62,000 acres of these easements would have to be purchased from Tejon at market rates or be opened up for development.

    The groups that signed the deal feared that without it, the ranch would be subdivided and developed piecemeal. But in our analysis, the only way Tejon’s Wall Street owners can realize their desired profits is through large-scale, centralized development like that laid out in the deal. The threat of pell-mell development of Tejon Ranch is simply a red herring.

    Most of the “protected” acres are too steep, too rugged and too distant to ever be developed anyway. The fight is really over the 58,000 acres that Tejon is being allowed to develop and the 62,000 acres for which it might “generously” sell easements.

    In this, Tejon would be getting virtually everything it wants.

    The Center for Biological Diversity and our allies recently filed suit to ensure that Tejon’s plans do not succeed. Our children and grandchildren deserve to be able to experience one of the last great places in California and to witness condors soaring in the wild.

    For more information, go to http://www.savetejonranch.org.

    Adam Keats directs the Center for Biological Diversity’s Urban Wildlands Program. Adam Keats is the director of the Center for Biological Diversity’s Urban Wildlands Program.

    This article appeared on page E – 6 of the San Francisco Chronicle



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