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Wednesday, October 8, 2008

L.A. company close to buying 68,000 Acres of Onyx Ranch, located between Sierras and Red Rock Canyon State Park

BY JAMES BURGER, Californian staff writer


A portion of the sprawling Onyx Ranch east of Isabella Lake, the land empire of the cattle-ranching Rudnick family, is close to being sold to a Los Angeles resources company that focuses on building renewable energy resources.

Cole Frates of Renewable Resource Group confirmed that his corporation is nearing a deal with the Rudnicks to purchase 68,000 acres of the ranch.

“We have a memorandum of purchase of sale against the property and it’s not much of a secret that we’re hoping to purchase it,” he said.

Frates declined to share details about the company’s plans for the land, if it acquires it, in deference to the Rudnicks.

Kern County planner Lorelei Oviatt said that the Kern County Planning Department has had a positive experience working with a partner company of Renewable Resource Group — Western Development — on the creation of the Antelope Valley Water Bank project.
Oscar Rudnick, the trustee of the family trust, declined to talk about the details of the sale or confirm that it is happening.

He did say that the wind energy potential of the property is substantial.
“We do have wind land out there and it’s probably one of the biggest in Kern County,” he said.
Rudnick said his grandfather, also named Oscar, bought the land in 1931 with a partner.
Family member Philip Rudnick had proposed a 175.5-megawatt wind energy project on 15,182 acres of the ranch with partner Padmona Energy, Oviatt said.
That project, which Oviatt said was to be leased to the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, is currently on hold because the owner of the ranch, the family trust, has not yet authorized the project to proceed.

Philip Rudnick declined to comment on any possible sale of the property.
Court records show that family members are in disagreement over whether to sell the ranch.
Despite the area’s historic value in the Kern River Valley, sale of the ranch also has significance for public use and recreation in the area.

The ranch is also adjacent to large areas of public land owned by the Bureau of Land Management and sits near Jawbone Canyon, a popular off-road recreation area.
Oscar Rudnick said the family is interested in working with the Friends of Jawbone Canyon off-roader group to create recreation opportunities on the ranch.

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