For Immediate Release, April 20, 2021

Contact:

Aruna Prabhala, (408) 691-6272, aprabhala@biologicaldiversity.org

After $6 Million Agreement, Dismissal Sought for Lawsuit Challenging Placer Ranch Development

PLACER COUNTY, Calif.— The Center for Biological Diversity requested the dismissal today of a lawsuit challenging the Placer Ranch development in Northern California.

Today’s request comes after a $6 million agreement was recently reached between the Center and Placer Ranch Inc. that will reduce the development’s greenhouse gas emissions, support habitat conservation in and around Placer County and offer incentives for local residents to purchase electric vehicles and solar panels.

“This landmark agreement brings lasting benefits to Placer County residents while ensuring the preservation of key natural landscapes and wildlife habitat,” said Aruna Prabhala, director of the Center’s Urban Wildlands program. “Our involvement has always focused on advocating for this community and making sure conservation measures are at the forefront of responsible development plans.”

The agreement secures significant measures that cut climate pollution and protect biological diversity. They include:

● electric vehicle charging stations in all single-family homes, zero-emission transit vehicles, green roofs on commercial spaces and free transit passes for future residents and employees,

● $4 million for the acquisition and permanent protection of biologically important habitat,

● $1 million to fund the work of nonprofit groups working towards the preservation and restoration of and research on imperiled wildlife and ecologically valuable habitat,

● $500,000 in subsidies for Placer County residents to purchase electric vehicles and install rooftop solar; all single-family homes will have electric-vehicle charging stations, as will 15% of non-residential parking spaces,

● and $500,000 for future conservation projects in Placer County.

These and other measures will drastically reduce the greenhouse gases that would otherwise have resulted from this 2,213-acre western Placer County development. The project includes approximately 5,600 new homes, 5.4 million square feet of employment and commercial space at buildout and the potential site of a new California State University, Sacramento, satellite campus.

A portion of future property sales of the residential and commercial development will fund on-site renewable energy generation, zero-emission transportation and other conservation initiatives. The Rose Foundation for Communities and the Environment, a public foundation specializing in the administration of settlement proceeds to benefit environmental and consumer protection programs, will help manage the initiatives.

The agreement will also provide funds toward preserving other biologically important habitat. The Center will use some of those funds to help purchase and conserve the historic Northern California property known as Lone Pine Ranch.

The Center’s lawsuit was filed in early 2020 in Placer County Superior Court. The suit followed Placer County’s approval of the Placer Ranch Specific Plan, a subset of the larger Sunset Area Plan. Today’s request for dismissal may be the final step in the litigation of this project, but the Center plans to remain engaged as the rest of the Sunset Area Plan continues to be developed.

“We plan to keep a close eye on future proposals because we’re committed to protecting the environment for current and future residents,” Prabhala said. “As this region develops, sound land-use policies are especially important to maintaining the wildlife habitat that makes Placer County so special.”

The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.7 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.