SANTA BARBARA COUNTY - When the name Tranquillion Ridge comes to mind, many on the Central Coast think of what's estimated to be a vast underwater natural gas deposit off the coast of Vandenberg Air Force Base.
But there's another T-Ridge with potentially huge underground energy deposits, onshore.
"We had the highest ridge on the coast at that time on Mt. Tranquillion", says longtime Central Coast resident Ardis Noel.
Noel is the granddaughter of W.W. Dickerson, an early 20th-century entrepreneur who bought 3,000 acres of ranch land along San Miguelito Canyon Road near the Lompoc Valley.
After the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor, the Federal Government bought the Dickerson family ranch for an undisclosed sum to build what was then Camp Cooke, what is now Vandenberg Air Force Base which it did with other private landowners in the area at the time.
Now Ardis Noel and her surviving heirs want to sell the mineral rights to the land even though they no longer own it and its on the base.
"I have paperwork where we were given the right to keep the mineral rights, oil rights, diatomaceous earth", Noel says about her family's claim, "I'm interested in seeing more oil developed here on the west coast where I know it is, and can be, rather than have it come from a foreign country and have our prices be as they are."
"It just seems with the economy the way it is, its the right time to do it", Noel says, "my father would have loved to have done this."
Noel says she hopes to hear soon about her family's claim to the mineral rights and her ability to sell them to an energy development company in return for royalty payments, which is typically how its done in Santa Barbara County.
The Federal Government and the Air Force have allowed private energy development on the base in the past.
Thursday, May 23 2013 5:26 PM EDT2013-05-23 21:26:01 GMT
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