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CONSERVATION EASEMENT TO PROTECT ENDANGERED SPECIES; STATE AND ARCO ESTABLISH PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP

 CONSERVATION EASEMENT TO PROTECT ENDANGERED SPECIES;
 STATE AND ARCO ESTABLISH PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
 BAKERSFIELD, Calif., Oct. 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A 6,000-acre conservation easement has been established in the Southern San Joaquin Valley that will, in perpetuity, protect the rare and endangered animal and plant life found there. The Coles Levee Ecosystem Preserve encompasses 6,059 acres of land in Kern County owned by ARCO Oil and Gas Co.
 ARCO has deeded a conservation easement over the land to the California Department of Fish and Game for preservation. Under terms of the easement, ARCO is designated as manager of the preserve for the benefit of the many rare and endangered plants and animals that inhabit the property.
 This is the first time that a private firm has been allowed to manage a conservation easement. Previously, conservation easements were managed either by a government agency or a conservation trust.
 Commenting on this unique public/private partnership, California Gov. Pete Wilson said, "By establishing this preserve with ARCO, we are demonstrating that government and business can and must work together to fill California's energy needs while safeguarding natural habitats and the species they support."
 Southern San Joaquin Valley is home to more rare and endangered species than any other area in the contiguous 48 states. It is also a prolific basin for hydrocarbons and has been the site of petroleum exploration and development activities for many years.
 "Although ARCO has oil and natural gas production on the preserve," said ARCO Chairman Lodwrick M. Cook, "we are making certain that the rare and endangered species on this acreage will be protected long after the oil and gas reserves have been depleted. Coles Levee is a wonderful model for future business/environment partnerships."
 The easement also will provide ARCO with endangered species compensation credits to support its future oil and gas development in the Southern San Joaquin Valley. As required by the Endangered Species Act, protected and undisturbed acreage must be set aside to compensate for other acreage that is to be used for any type of commercial development, including oil and gas activities.
 In addition to supporting ARCO's activities in the San Joaquin Valley, endangered species compensation credits will be made available to smaller, independent oil companies involved in joint ventures with ARCO. The Coles Levee Easement is being hailed as a concept that will be replicated by others who seek to combine responsible commercial development with ecological conservation.
 At dedication ceremonies held today on the preserve, several hundred people toured the area, which is a mix of shrub grassland, riverbank vegetation and alkali flats. They saw the natural habitat of several endangered animals and plants such as the kit fox, the blunt-nosed leopard lizard, the giant kangaroo rat, Hoover's wooly star, and the Tipton kangaroo rat. ARCO will manage the land to ensure rare and endangered species conservation.
 The preserve will continue to produce oil and natural gas, employing 50 Kern County residents and generating tax revenues to support public programs in the county. ARCO Oil and Gas Co., a division of Los Angeles-based ARCO (NYSE: ARC), has offices in Bakersfield and approximately 500 employees working in Kern County.
 -0- 10/7/92
 /CONTACT: Scott Loll, 213-486-2562, or Rick Ostler, 214-934-2570, both of ARCO/
 (ARC) CO: ARCO ST: California IN: OIL SU:


EH-LS -- LA001 -- 7555 10/07/92 16:01 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Oct 7, 1992
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