SAN FRANCISCO (March 2, 2009) – On March 2, Joel Reynolds, director of NRDC’s southern California program, will receive a California Lawyer 2009 Attorney of the Year (CLAY) award in the Environmental Law category for his leadership role in negotiating an agreement that will permanently protect 90 percent of the majestic Tejon Ranch, the largest contiguous, private landholding in California.
The Tejon Ranch conservation agreement was reached among the Tejon Ranch Company and a coalition of environmental organizations led by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). Under the pact, the company will set aside 240,000 acres of its vast tract of southern California land under donated conservation easements, open-space designations, and public acquisitions.
Following is a statement by Joel Reynolds, director of NRDC’s southern California program:
“This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to conserve one of California’s most treasured open spaces. This agreement not only saves the land from development, it guarantees significant public access and funds an independent conservancy to enhance and restore the special, native plants and animals many Californians may never otherwise have a chance to see. Protecting this land is meaningful to me. Anyone who spends time at Tejon Ranch understands why the area holds such unique significance and should be preserved for the benefit of California’s future generations.”
This is the second time Joel has received the prestigious Attorney of the Year award; the first was in 2004 for his successful litigation against the U.S. Navy on Low Frequency Active Sonar. California Lawyer magazine has named 43 attorneys around the state to receive the thirteenth annual California Lawyer Attorneys of the Year Awards. Their achievements had a significant impact in 2008, or their work is expected to have such an effect in the coming years. The recipients of the CLAY Awards are featured in the March 2009 issue of California Lawyer.
Previous CLAY winners include NRDC attorneys Kate Poole and David Beckman.