Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bacon Stands Up For The Land

Louis Bacon, the founder of Moore Capital Management as well as the owner of the Trinchera Blanca ranch in Colorado; was recently interviewed for Forbes’ magazine. However, Bacon’s enthusiasm for the welfare of his ranch’s environment seemed to spark something in him, as he called his quest to save his ranch from the environmental degradation as his "righteous battle".

In 2007, Louis Bacon bought the Trinchera ranch from the Forbes family for a total of $175 million; this became another addition to his small and secretive collection of land located in New York, North Carolina and Colorado. He quietly put each individual property of his into conservation easements in order to save them from any further man inflicted wild life deterioration. Bacon rather enjoys a low key lifestyle, in which the press and the media remain unaware of his personal affairs, which is why he does not usually like being interviewed.

This piece of land, has become not only special for its value, but Bacon sees it more to be the apple of his eye due to the beautiful surroundings as well as the never ending presence of animals, such as elks, mule deer and bighorn sheep all of which entertain him and his bow hunting talents. Louis Bacon showed just how pleased he was with this destination as he said, "I was looking for a large landscape that had different ecosystems within it and this was the pièce de résistance."

After having bought the Trinchera Ranch, he realised he would have to become a public figure in order to prevent the proposed energy transmission line which consisted of a series of 150-foot-tall metal towers. Seventeen miles of that line was to cut through the ranch and ruin the land for locals, wildlife, and plant life. This project was initiated by Xcel Energy and Tri-State Generation & Transmission; it was to be sold to the public and carry solar energy. Bacon had to put up a fight in order to find out as to whether it was absolutely necessary yo fix the line through Trinchera; however he quickly found out that installing the line made no sense at all.

He discovered that the energy companies had cheaper alternatives and that these proposed lines would in fact not carry any "green" energy at all. He questioned their motives as he stated that, "The only reason they wanted to build the line was to make money. It had nothing to do with public interest."

Louis Bacon was attacked by the energy companies and brandished a "Poor little rich boy" for trying to prevent the lines being installed. However his motives were for the good of the land and its people, and through his new public status people began to learn more about the man behind Moore Capital Management and the millions of dollars he has previously donated to environmental groups over the last twenty years. Bacon won over public sentiment and after nearly three-years of legal battles, both Xcel and Tri-State announced that they were pulling out of the project. He was then further recognized as he reported that he was putting the 90,000 acres of the Blanca section of his ranch into a conservation easement donated to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. This meant that any new construction on the land would require an unprecedented eminent domain ruling.
Throughout this battle for justice, Louis Bacon spent over $10 million and explained "I had the means to fight it, so I did."

Bacon started wanting to be environmentally friendly at a young age as throughout his youth he spent a lot of his time hunting and fishing in Raleigh, N.C. "What I remember most as a child is being outdoors with my father and brothers, those were my formative experiences, and I’ve tried to create that for my family now." Bacon also compares hunting to finance, as they both require patience and the ability not to panic.

Louis Bacon’s two worlds came together as his first job was as a captain on a fishing boat owned by Walter Frank, a stock specialist on the New York Stock Exchange. After graduating from Columbia Business School, and with Frank’s help, Bacon went to Wall Street and worked with Paul Tudor Jones, who helped him start the Moore Capital Management in 1989 and brought in some clients for him. Despite recent set-backs, his hedge fund remains one of the bigger players with nearly $13 billion under management. However, Bacon also recognises the difficulties of entering the business world for young people these days as he says, "It’s unfortunate that so many kids these days want to go into a certain branch of finance, a business that’s of questionable contribution to society."

As Louis Bacon began to purchase his various properties, he became aware of his neighbours and their dislikes. He did not wish to disturb the surroundings, nor build things that did not fit in with the landscape, he explained this as he said that "all of these properties are part of a community, and it’s really important to view them in that way." He has also donated a lot of money to community organizations such as the local schools, police departments and libraries.

Bacon has spent more than $400 million on 202,000 acres of land in the U.S.; all under conservation easements or soon will be. Bacon follows Aldo Leopold’s quote with this land ethics, "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."

Before the transmission line battle, Bacon did not wish to attract any attention for his conservation efforts and his contributions towards the environment; however it has now been shown that he has donated $50 million in the last 12 years to environmental and educational groups. In 2013, The National Audubon Society will be awarding him its Audubon Medal.

1 comment:

  1. It's good to stand for what you believe...