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Responding to outrage and protests by fishermen and environmentalists, the California Fish and Game Commission has scheduled a special meeting in Sacramento on September 24 to address the growing controversy surrounding Pacific Gas and Electric Company's plans to conduct high-energy seismic surveys in the ocean on the Central Coast off the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant.  

The meeting will begin at 9 a.m. at the Resources Building, First Floor Auditorium, 1416 Ninth Street.

After the public forum at the beginning of the meeting where any member of the public may address the Commission regarding the implementation of its policies or any other matter within the jurisdiction of the Commission, the Commission will receive and discuss information on PG&E's proposed Central Coast "Seismic Imaging Project."  

The testing is expected to kill and harm blue whales, humpback whales, dolphins, fish and other marine life in a wide swatch of ocean, including the Point Buchon State Marine Reserve that went into effect under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative in 2007.

According to a PG&E representative at an informational meeting, the proposal calls for a 240-foot ship to tow a quarter-mile wide array of twenty 250 decibel “air cannons,” along a 90-mile stretch of California’s Central Coast. The cannons will shoot deafening underwater explosions once every twenty seconds, day and night, for 42 days and nights.  The region of California’s Center where this devastating assault on wildlife is expected to take place includes the “protected” Point Buchon State Marine Reserve.

Julie Tacker, San Luis Obispo activist and former LOSCD director, summarized the tremendous risk the seismic testing presents to whales, dolphins and other marine life, as revealed on page 121 of the "Central Coastal California Seismic Imaging Project Environmental Assessment" under Section 4.12.5 Potential Numbers of 'Takes by Harassment.'

“The worst case scenario (including a 25% contingency) ‘take’ count goes like the old Christmas song, 'Partridge in a Pear Tree,'" according to Tacker. “One Minke Whale, 2 Sperm Whales, 5 Dwarf Sperm Whales, 15 Blue Whales and 97 California Gray Whales, 25 Fin Whales, 13 Humpback Whales, a single Short-Finned Pilot Whale, 3 Baird’s Beak, 7 Killer Whales, 8 Striped Dolphins, 8 Small Beaked Whales, 81 Dall’s Porpoise, 82 Long-Beaked Dolphins, 98 Risso’s Dolphins, 114 Northern Right Whale Dolphins, 198 Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, 1,652 Bottlenose Dolphins and 1,834 Short-Beaked Dolphi, 76 Harbor Seals, 1,062 California Sea Lions, 1,485 Southern Sea Otters, untold sea turtles of several varieties, numerous fish and bird species and the next generation sea life including nearly 4 million larva of all types.”  

In spite of this big risk, the Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) company has been given the green light by various agencies in Sacramento to survey the spiderweb of earthquake faults surrounding their controversial nuclear facility. However, the Fish and Game Commission still has not granted its final approval, according to David Gurney, Vice Chair of the Ocean Protection Coalition of Mendocino County and independent journalist (

Gurney stated, "In early June of this year, members of the F&G Commission found themselves in the embarrassing position of congratulating themselves on final approval of controversial "marine protection areas" on the North Coast, just as they were being asked by PG&E to 'cleanse' the Point Bushon 'State Marine Reserve'" and 'State Marine Conservation Areas' on the Central Coast. (

"Activists on California's North Coast were deliberately silenced by a corrupt MLPA 'Initiative’ when they asked for protections against seismic testing, navy sonar, oil drilling and infrastructure, wave energy, and other threats to MPAs, as intended by the 1999 Marine Life Protection Act. The so-called MLPA 'Initiative' was headed up by Big Oil, Big Energy, and Big Agriculture appointees, and informed by 'scientists' with gross conflict of interest," noted Gurney.

Gurney emphasized, "Each of these underwater blasts will be at the volume level of a shock wave, that will instantly deafen, maim and possibly kill everything unfortunate enough to be in its path.  A 240 dB blast is reportedly like being one foot away from the mouth of a large cannon.  For a human, your ears, or what’s left of your ears, would probably never stop ringing. The consequences of experiencing this level of sound can only be presumed to be immediate and permanent deafness – if not worse. For sea life, beyond just broken eardrums, the transfer of low-frequency shock waves from water-air-water causes hemorrhaging of lungs and air-sacks, and will result in the death of marine mammals – whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions and otters – and fish."  

Even worse, at Friday’s Coastal Commission meeting in Caspar, California, Deputy Director Alison Dettmerannounced that seismic testing plans for the controversial Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant are not the only high-energy surveys proposed for studying potential earthquakes off the state’s two active nuclear facilities - they are also planned off the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station!  

According to Dettmer, the Diablo air-gun survey “would cover about 300 square miles, in both state and federal waters.  The SONGS survey, (San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station) limited to *federal waters, would cover about 1,300 square miles.” (

The Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing facebook page (, set  up by Joey Racano of the Ocean Outfall Group, is growing quickly, reflecting the growing concern of the public about the terrible idea of seismic blasting on the Central Coast of California.

The group held a "Thank the Whales" protest on September 1, drawing over 400 people to Port San Luis and Avila Beach to thank the whales for converging in large numbers on the Central Coast, apparently to alert people of the dangers of seismic testing. "With this event, the corporate media black out ended," said Racano.

Racano, Gurney and many others will attending the Fish & Game Commission meeting in Sacramento on September 24. Racano would  like to present them with your letters, so please write one and send it to him at: California Fish & Game Commission C/O Joey Racano, 1487 Nipomo Ave, Los Osos, California, 93402.

A list of upcoming events and meetings follows:

October 6th and 7th, Tabling for letters at the Harbor Festival, come work with the STDCST team!

October 10th, LIGHTS OUT AGAINST SEISMIC TESTING! Join people throughout California as we dim our lights for 1 hour starting at 8:00pm Pacific Standard Time in a statewide show of solidarity against seismic testing at both Diablo Canyon and San Onofre Nuclear Waste Plants.

October 8th, On the new moon, come take part in the first ever Avila Calling of the Whales Light Festival, on the beach in Avila! YOU WILL NEED TO BRING YOUR FLASHLIGHT. Singers, ceremony, whale song and LIGHTS! Details to be announced.

October 10th-11th or 12th, California Coastal Commission in Oceanside. Be there, call or Fax them, or write them a letter at:

Central Coast District Office
Dan Carl, Deputy Director
725 Front Street, Suite 300
Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4508
(831) 427-4863
FAX (831) 427-4877

Please keep writing letters to the newspapers!,,

Take Action Now!

Please email the Fish and Game Commission with your concerns about the deadly seismic testing at: attn: Sonke Mastrup

Contact Senator Sam Blakeslee and ask him to reconsider his bill because seismic testing is too destructive to proceed at:
Senator Sam Blakeslee
4066 State Capitol
California 95814
Phone: (916) 651-4015   Fax: (916) 445-8081

Call Senator Barbara Boxer at:  202 224-3553

Contact Congresswoman Lois Capps at:
The Honorable Lois Capps
United States House of Representatives
2231 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515-0523
DC Phone: (202) 225-3601
FAX: (202) 225-5632  

For details and an agenda of the upcoming Fish and Game Commission meeting, go to:

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Comment Preferences

  •  Could they get any more stupid? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    IndieGuy, Joieau, BlackSheep1

    Or are they just corrupt? Or both?

    "I came for the politics and stayed for the community" - h/t the fabulous earicicle

    by shortgirl on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 08:41:26 AM PDT

    •  Both. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shortgirl, BlackSheep1, cany

      Both of these plants need to be decommissioned, their power contribution shifted to wind. Offshore or onshore, a wind spill doesn't require permanently evacuated 'dead zones' and/or kill off vast populations of humans and marine animals.

      Everybody knows California is prone to earthquakes. And that these plants are very likely situated atop faults nobody knew about when they were built. NRC isn't issuing any more new or extended licenses, because there's no place to put the accumulated waste of the last 40+ years and the waste they've already got is dangerously stored as well as seismically at risk. Oh... and positively deadly for more than a million years.

      Shut 'em down. Don't let them kill and maim endangered cetaceans just because killing and maiming is what they do best.

      •  Joieau - wind can't replace these power plants (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I am a huge fan of alternatives, but we already have a mandate of 20% alternatives by 2020 that we won't meet. California already has very high electric rates and wind is not a reliable 24/7/365 source of power. A friend of mine who just left the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), as a commissioner, has said that to force 20% of the power to be generated from alternatives, by 2020, would make electricity in California prohibitively expensive. At this point there is no good alternative to the nuclear power plants.

        "let's talk about that"

        by VClib on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 10:25:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Last I checked, California (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          BlackSheep1, shortgirl, cany

          also has ample sunshine. And yes, the plants CAN be replaced. The technology and storage capability gets better all the time, because people really are working on it. Once you subtract from the grid the ridiculous amount of power required to keep these beasts from melting on a constant basis, then subtract the power loss from transmission itself, they are nowhere near the energy be-all their cult followers claim. What they most certainly CAN be is the end-all. And that's not even mentioning climate change, which nukes can never dent even if there were enough money left in the world to build the couple thousand behemoths even nukes admit they'd need. There is not enough money in the world for that, and 'everybody knows' that too.

          So... am I to take it you are willing to kill off endangered whales just to check for faults 'everybody knows' run under the plants and out to sea? And once the death-dealing is done, what happens if sure enough, there's faults running under the plants? Shut them down or simply shrug? We both know they'll shrug because these plants are certifiable nuclear antiques and they won't be re-designed and re-built. Besides, until there's a permanent waste repository - 30 years at least if they had a suitable site today and enough money to dry cask what they've got - they've got no business creating more. No nuclear utility or holding company has that kind of money, which is why 40 years' worth of waste is sitting next to our major population centers in unshielded, glorified swimming pools. No government's got that kind of money these days either. And no, they won't get their automatic extensions either.

          Even the CEOs of GE and Exelon have publicly stated that nukes don't make any sense. Why are you still hanging on?

          We can do much better. Maybe even start making things in this country again someday soon so there's working and middle class customers again for the 'trons. You never know...

          •  Joieau - my comment was related specifically (0+ / 0-)

            to the comment that the plants should be closed and replaced by wind power. And yes we have a lot of sun, however solar isn't a 24/7/365 source of power either. I am a big fan of alternatives and was a seed round investor in Sun Power in 1988. Sun Power is the largest US provider of solar panels and is the gold standard in the industry. At the moment power storage is still very expensive and makes utility scale alternatives less than ideal. I am currently working with a group of scientists and engineers who have a technology that could potentially solve the utility scale, low cost, storage issue. Until the storage problem is solved, alternatives can only provide a portion of power needs of utility customers.

            "let's talk about that"

            by VClib on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 02:38:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Demand is very low right now. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              It's been going down for the past 30 years or so, as more and more of our manufacturing has been outsourced and the American workforce was being transitioned into the low-paid "service" economy. When the economy crashed and tens of millions more found themselves out of work and unlikely ever to find well-paying work again. Families have been changing out bulbs and cutting down the heat/AC and water heaters... why, quite a few have been installing smart meters and even solar panels and timing their usage accordingly.

              We will never have a better opportunity to make the renewables switch. Even Japan has discovered after two years of 50+% of their generation capacity being down for the count that they can still manage to be a modern nation without 'em. As I said, they simply do not produce the amount of energy they're touted to do, and for even that amount of 'trons for you to have toasted bagels for breakfast they're leaving tons of waste that is positively deadly for way longer than human beings have even existed. It makes no rational sense. Wall Street knows it. They're investing in alternatives, nukes are going nowhere.

              •  Jaieau - an interesting tidbit from my friend (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Dan Bacher

                the former CPUC member, the per capita power consumption in CA has remained relatively flat for 30 years because all the heavy manufacturing left the state (as you noted) because it could not comply with the state's environmental regulations. When I was growing up in California we made airplanes, cars, tires, ships, batteries, among many others. We certainly have cleaner air and water, but we did lose our manufacturing base in the process.

                "let's talk about that"

                by VClib on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 04:38:13 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  And about that low demand... (0+ / 0-)

              People are cutting back wherever they can because they simply can't afford the conspicuous consumption Americans used to wallow in. Once the sources of energy are priced beyond the capacity of most people to purchase, they'll make do without, or develop something else.

              It's well past time for the Masters of the Universe to learn that we won't slave away our lives for not enough to afford food, clothing and shelter (electricity, phone, transportation, etc.). Conversely, we will not dutifully roll over and die - and watch our families starve - just because the 1% wants everything all to themselves. The sooner they understand this economic reality, the better. I mean, we could always eat the rich, but they're stringy and tough. And nowhere near enough of them.

              There is not enough money in the world for nuclear. We're done with it, the nuclear gigacorps themselves are done with it, governments are done with it. A few die-hards and misguideds just haven't given up yet. No reason to throw good money after bad.

        •  San Onofre has been DOWN for over six months (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          now, through the hot season, even, and we lived. and even though we are not getting power, SCE/SDGE usuers are paying $54 million EACH MONTH to cover the costs of the plant.

          Have you ANY idea what we could do with that $54 million/month in terms of upgrading the system and adding wind and solar?

          Shut the #(%&#) down!

          202-224-3121 to Congress in D.C. USE it! You can tell how big a person is by what it takes to discourage them. "We're not perfect, but they're nuts."--Barney Frank 01/02/2012

          by cany on Mon Sep 17, 2012 at 12:35:12 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Rancho Seco has been closed since 1991 (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          The Rancho Seco Nuclear Point Plant near Sacramento, where I live, has been closed down since 1991. And guess what? We survived and is everybody is glad that the plant is shut down.

  •  Something of an overreaction (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Acoustic surveying has been used for decades with only a few incidences of marine animal death.

    As far as I can tell, there's no confirmed cases of whale deaths from seismic testing at all.

  •  Take count (worst case) from EIR (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Joieau, shortgirl, cany

    “The worst case scenario (including a 25% contingency) ‘take’ count goes like the old Christmas song, 'Partridge in a Pear Tree,' according to Tacker. “One Minke Whale, 2 Sperm Whales, 5 Dwarf Sperm Whales, 15 Blue Whales and 97 California Gray Whales, 25 Fin Whales, 13 Humpback Whales, A single Short-Finned Pilot Whale, 3 Baird’s Beak, 7 Killer Whales, 8 Striped Dolphins, 8 Small Beaked Whales, 81 Dall’s Porpoise, 82 Long-Beaked Dolphins, 98 Risso’s Dolphins, 114 Northern Right Whale Dolphins, 198 Pacific White-Sided Dolphins, 1,652 Bottlenose Dolphins and 1,834 Short-Beaked Dolphi76 Harbor Seals, 1,062 California Sea Lions, and 1,485 Southern Sea Otters, untold sea turtles of several varieties, numerous fish and bird species and the next generation sea life including nearly 4 million larva of all types.”

  •  Several Environmental Groups Oppose the Testing (0+ / 0-)

    There are several environmental groups that oppose the testing. I figured this would be a good addition to what you already have up here. We broke the story that the National Resources Defense Council has changed their position and now opposes the seismic testing. Several groups have joined the growing list of organizations opposing the testing, including Greenpeace, Mothers for Peace, Alliance for Nuclear Responsibility and the Surfrider Foundation.

    Source(s): NRDC Calls for Stop to PG&E Seismic Test, Urges Coastal Commission to Deny Permit, Environmental Groups Line Up to Oppose PG&E’s Seismic Testing

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