We are the people who have joined with thousands of others fighting to Save the Missing Middle of the Puente-Chino Hills Wildlife Corridor. Residents in Los Angeles, Orange and San Bernardino Counties have united to fight two bad projects that will bulldoze the hills we all cherish.

By saving the 8,700 acre “Missing Middle” we will link 4,000 acres of preserved open space in Whittier with 13,000 acres in Chino Hills State Park east of Brea. When complete, this phenomenal corridor will serve as both a lifeline for wildlife and a place of recreation and retreat for the residents of the region. The trails and pathways will extend from the San Gabriel River in Los Angeles County on the west to Temecula in San Diego County on the southeast. What a gift to the future – a linkage of natural lands in one of the most highly urbanized regions of the world.

Two colossal projects would wall off the “Missing Middle” of the Wildlife Corridor:

• International oil giants Shell and ExxonMobil are planning 3,600 houses and three commercial developments on its 3,000 acres, mostly west of the 57 freeway.

• The City of Industry is proposing massive dams and a highway on its 5,700 acres, east of the 57 freeway.
If allowed to succeed, these enormous urban intrusions will forever seal the fate of the hills near our communities.

Industry and Shell's subsidiary, Aera Energy, are best friends as they plan an unsightly mass of housing on the hills and threaten us with a wall of water in Tonner Canyon.  Both want a highway in Tonner Canyon - Industry needs it for access to the dams; Shell-Aera needs the added road capacity it will provide. These development projects will forever destroy this last remaining open space so vital to residents and wildlife alike.

Shell Oil's project will be unsightly, poorly planned sprawl for high end housing. This destructive housing development in the mostly unspoiled hills will ruin the panoramic backdrop for millions of Californians. The culprit is Aera Energy, a development company primarily owned by Shell Oil with ExxonMobil as a minority partner. This developer’s unethical treatment of local communities is why we’re angry.

The project will :

• Worsen the existing traffic jams by adding 40,000 more vehicle trips a day;
• Add 2,400 students to our already over-crowded schools;
• Sever the Wildlife Corridor that will cause resource agencies to become disinterested in helping preserve the land;
• Diminish the value of the lands that we, the people of California, have already invested over $200 million to protect during the last 30 years;
• Overextend our fire, police and other public services and increase the emergency response times even further;
• Overtax roads and other taxpayer paid-for infrastructure in neighboring communities;
• Increase urban runoff that eventually degrades our beloved beaches;
• Put further pressure on scarce water resources and
• Destroy a blessed stretch of tranquility and Old California between the crowded suburban areas of Orange County and the San Gabriel Valley.

How does Shell-Aera expect anyone to believe that 40,000 more vehicle trips per day will not paralyze the adjacent communities already overwhelmed by traffic from other poorly planned developments? With a straight face Shell-Aera tells us they can fix all of these impacts.

But they deceive. They cannot mitigate impacts on such a massive project to a degree that does not destroy the beauty of the hills and the livability of our region, as we know them today. The 27 year long cross county, bi-partisan preservation effort continues to envision a backbone of open space that will enhance the lives of all who live here, now and into the future.

The second project is the destruction of Tonner Canyon with a series of risky dams accessed by a major highway on land acquired by the City of Industry. This land lies in three different counties and is completely outside of Industry's city jurisdiction.

Industry denies these plans but public documents reveal 30 years of planning. Emails as recent as August 2004 substantiate Industry's desire for the dams.

• Dam 1 would be built just east of the 57 freeway in lower Tonner Canyon and unbelievably near the Whittier-Elsinore earthquake fault, threatening tens of thousands of homes;

• Dam 2 would be built in Middle Tonner Canyon south of “The Country Park” in Diamond Bar and would flood Grand Avenue and

• Dam 3 would be built north of Grand Avenue.

And don’t think “pristine  lakes.”  Think massive electric power generating plants that will drain Dam 2 into Dam 1 each day revealing huge bathtub rings with slopes cluttered with debris. Dam 1 will then pump its water back up to Dam 2 at night when electricity is cheaper and will leave its own bathtub rings.

The City of Industry spends millions of taxpayer dollars in pursuit of projects outside its city limits. Why you ask? Because they seem to have little accountability or transparency. Most of its 106 registered voters are beholden to the City in one way or another. Many voters live in housing owned by the City, its Redevelopment Agency or the mayor’s family partnership. The City treats its millions of dollars of sales tax revenue paid by the whole region's residents as a personal treasure chest to enable activities well outside of its own city or jurisdiction.

This ambitious and wealthy city with a reported $1 billion reserve is pushing for a new highway cutting through the hills and watershed of the former Firestone Boy Scout Reservation. Under the selfish banner of a new access road to the Olinda Landfill, Industry has been seeking this road for at least three years. But Industry’s road will not stop at the landfill. It will provide a thoroughfare for hundreds of thousands of people who live in the rapidly developing Inland Empire. As envisioned, this new highway will dump traffic into Brea at the only place wildlife can safely migrate between the Puente and Chino Hills, under the 57 freeway at Tonner Canyon. With a severed Corridor, the Shell-Aera land, just west, will lose resource value making it much more prone to development and making its preservation much more difficult.

Below is a map of the Missing Middle and the two project sites. This map is interactive and web-users can click on the Shell-Aera or City of Industry land as a link to learn about each property.














This region of Southern California is part of a Hot Spot of Biodiversity – and contains some of the fastest disappearing landscapes on the planet. Hot Spots are places where valuable habitat and development threats collide. Biodiversity describes the variety of life forms found on earth.

Areas like ours are blessed with many life forms that evolved over time, thriving in our climate, finding a variety of niches to adapt to and spreading into the nooks and crannies of our canyons, hills and alongside streams. That’s why resource agencies pay attention to our hills.

Recognizing the richness of this landscape, local, regional, state and federal agencies along with private citizens desiring preservation of this unequaled recreational resource have invested over $200 million in a 27 year effort to save this rich natural heritage. We have also come to learn that saving islands of natural lands cannot sustain wildlife for the long term. Large blocks of open space are necessary to accommodate the survival needs of the wildlife (migration routes, breeding grounds, adequate food and water).

Because of this reality, interested citizens and governments came together 10 years ago to connect the archipelago of saved lands in the Puente-Chino Hills into a protected Wildlife Corridor. Though many successes have followed in that intervening time -- including Coal Canyon, Old Coach Estates, Powder Canyon and Turnbull Canyon --- Shell-Aera and Industry’s heart-breaking projects pose the most current threats.

Ahmanson Ranch was saved, Ballona Creek was saved. The Missing Middle can be saved too. We have a track record to prove it.

The hills are worth saving and people will suffer
if Shell-Aera OR City of Industry get their way!

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