Conservancy Sues Tejon Ranch Company to Enforce Conservation Agreement

Non-profit conservancy joins environmental lawsuit for breach of contract

LOS ANGELES – The Tejon Ranch Conservancy (Conservancy) today joined a coalition lawsuit against the Tejon Ranch Company (Company), asking a Kern County Superior Court to find the company in breach of the landmark 2008 Tejon Ranch Conservation and Land Use Agreement (RWA). The group lawsuit was filed in December by the Natural Resources Defense Council, Sierra Club, National Audubon, Planning and Conservation League, and Endangered Habitats League. 

The RWA, which preserved 90 percent of the massive 270,000-acre ranch – the largest private landholding in California – obligates the Company to make Advance Payments in the amount of $800,000 a year to fund operations of the Conservancy, a non-profit land conservancy created under the RWA to oversee protection and restoration of the conserved lands. The Company failed to make the Advanced Payment on October 1, 2020, instead escrowing the funds and indicating that it would escrow future payments as well. 

The Conservancy is represented by Bradley Phillips and Martin Bern, litigation partners at Munger Tolles & Olson. “The Tejon Ranch Company agreed to, and for over a decade complied with, these terms – until now.  We have no choice but to join in this legal action,” said Mr. Phillips. “The advanced payments promised in the RWA are intended to preserve both the magnificent natural landscape of Tejon Ranch and the species that depend on it, we will not allow the company to ignore its unequivocal commitment.” 

“These advance payments are the principal source of revenue for the non-profit Conservancy and are essential to its mission – overseeing conservation of the protected lands at Tejon Ranch, fostering scientific research, and managing public access,” said Joel Reynolds, Chair of the Tejon Ranch Conservancy Board. “To put it simply, a deal is a deal.” 

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NRDC (The Natural Resources Defense Council) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City; Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; San Francisco; Chicago; Bozeman, Montana; and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC

The Tejon Ranch Conservancy is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit land trust dedicated to preserving, enhancing and restoring the native biodiversity and ecosystem values of Tejon Ranch. The Conservancy oversees conservation planning, protection and management of the 240,000 acres of conserved Tejon Ranch lands for the benefit of California’s future generations.  



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