The outrage over the State Lands Commission's decision to allow seismic testing off the Central Coast, a project that will kill whales, dolphins, fish and marine life, is mushrooming throughout California.
The decision occurs at a time when humpback and blue whales have appeared in big numbers off the California coast to feed on krill. Tourists from around the planet have descended on Monterey Bay and the Central Coast to catch a glimpse of the iconic marine mammals from shore and on whale watching vessels.
Over 40 environmental activists, fishermen and tribal members from the Central Coast and North Coast converged on the Commission meeting in Sacramento on August 20 to oppose a plan that would effectively "erase" marine life in a state marine reserve created under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.
The California State Lands Commission held the special meeting to hear additional testimony and public comment regarding a plan by Pacific Gas and Electric to conduct “seismic testing” in the Pacific ocean off its Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.
"P.G.&E. representatives, public officials, energy watchdogs and the general public were to be heard before a decision was made, whether or not to approve a proposal which uses an array of eighteen 250dB underwater cannons to create 3-D maps of sub-surface geology," according to Dave Gurney, independent journalist, on noyonews.net. "The lethal blasts will kill and maim all living creatures in a many square-mile swath of ocean off Morro Bay, California."
However, when Ed Oberweiser of Fort Bragg got up to deliver his carefully written 3-minute comment, he was rudely interrupted by the acting chair of the Commission, Alan Gordon, according to Gurney. Oberweiser had made a 338 mile-round trip to make the presentation.
"None of the current members of the SLC were present for the vote at this meeting: all were substitutes, including Gordon, who impatiently informed the assembly that the decision had already been made. He directed Oberweiser on what his public comment should address," said Gurney.
P.G.&E.’s seismic testing plan involves shooting powerful explosions from underwater cannons, sending shock-waves deep into the earth’s crust, to obtain 3-D images of the the myriad of earthquake faults directly offshore from the doomed Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, according to Gurney.
"The proposal will destroy virtually all marine life within a so-called 'no-take zone' in the Point Bushon State Marine Reserve, created by a corrupted Marine Life Protection Act 'Initiative,'" emphasized Gurney. "During the coercive implementation of the MLPA, which was rife with conflict of interest and corruption, many objected that crooked scientists and power brokers were failing to protect marine reserves from exactly the type of destructive activity ('take') that is now being proposed by PG&E, and tacitly approved by the silent presence of the MLPA 'Initiative's' executive director Ken Wiseman."
Fort Bragg activist challenges rude treatment at Commission meeting
Appalled by his rude treatment at the Sacramento meeting, Ed Oberweiser of the Ocean Protection Coalition wrote the following letter to Kim Lunetta of the State Lands Commission on August 22:
"I was very puzzled by the Monday August 20 meeting to deal with Calendar item 104. I don't understand who is actually on the committee with voting status on issues that come before the committee.
I noticed that Gavin Newsom, John Chiang or Ana Matosantos did not vote on issuing a permit to PG&E for the seismic testing around Diablo Canyon. I was told when I was giving comment by deputy controller Gordon to limit my comment on the EIR not the issuance of the permit. He said the permit would go forward. I found this very puzzling as did the 40 citizens in Morro Bay who understood they were giving comment on PG&E's permit application to conduct seismic testing.
When we arrived at the meeting we were given notices about the meeting, the paper on item 104 said "Consider certification of a final environmental Impact Report and issuance of a permit to Pacific Gas and Electric Company for purpose of conducting a 3D geophysical survey employing the use of air guns and hydrophones off the coast of San Luis Obispo.
So I felt that I had driven 338 miles round trip to give comment on a very important issue for nothing. The gas bill for this trip was more than $50.00. Please explain to me why this issue wasn't important enough for all the main commissioners to be there and vote on.
I also noticed that the commission members did not listen attentively or at all to much of the public comment. They were constantly leaving the room to go do other things or talk with other people.
Their performance was simply unacceptable. This is supposed to be a Democracy where the citizens are listened to and represented by the government. That certainly wasn't the case during Monday's Commission meeting. PG&E was well represented but we the people certainly were not. - Ed Oberweiser, Fort Bragg"
It is important to note that “open and transparent” process that created the "marine protected area" that will be subject to PG&E's environmentally destructive seismic testing was privately funded by the shadowy Resources Legacy Fund Foundation. It is no surprise that Gordon S. Smith, the former President and CEO (1997-2006) of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), serves on the Resources Legacy Fund Foundation Board.
In an egregious conflict of interest, we have a former President and CEO of the company responsible for erasing marine life in a state marine reserve serving on the board of the foundation that funded the creation of that reserve and other alleged "marine protected areas" under the MLPA Initiative!
Action Alert: Take action now to stop seismic testing!
Meanwhile, Joey Racano of the Ocean Outfall Group and Stop The Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing has issued an urgent action alert to stop the killing of whales and other marine life in a state marine reserve.
"The biggest obstacle the whales face is from a huge news blackout. The news writes about the whales and they write about seismic testing, but they do not report on both in the same stories," said Racano.
Here are actions you can take, according to Racano:
1.) Visit the story in the Santa Barbara Independent at
...and post in the comments section. You will see my comment already there.
2.) Go to 'Michaels' art store in San Luis Obispo and get a few foam core poster boards and some markers. Make some signs. Get them ready for when the protests begin in September. The location is already chosen but not yet announced. That's gonna be fun!
3.) This and every Tuesday morning at 9:00 AM, go to the Board of Supervisors meeting and sign up to speak during the Public Comment period (3 minutes each). The Supervisors may be brain dead, but the meeting goes out to televisions all over San Luis Obispo County! The Board of Supervisors meetings start at 9:00 a.m. in the County Government Center Board Chambers located at 1055 Monterey Street, Room D-170, San Luis Obispo.
4.) Be polite and respectful, and contact: State Senator Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo, Phone: (916) 651-4015, Fax: 916-445-8081, email: senator.blakeslee [at] senate.ca.gov
Tell him seismic testing puts us all in danger by allowing PG and E to delay removal of the Nuclear Plant that is sitting on earthquake faults, and the toll on marine life is unacceptable!
5.) As anyone can see, STDCST (StopTheDiabloCanyonSeismicTesting) is growing rapidly, so keep up the great work, activists! Continue posting on the comment section of all online media and videos, youtube, newspapers, and write letters to the San Luis Obispo Tribune! E mail the Trib at:letters [at] thetribunenews.com
For more information, go to: http://www.facebook.com/...
You can also sign an on-line petition to stop the testing at: http://www.change.org/...