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The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday, November 14 to reject Pacific Gas and Electric Company's widely-contested plan to conduct seismic testing off the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. They found the plan inconsistent with the California Coastal Act.  

In a massive display of unity, hundreds of fishermen, Tribal members and environmentalists showed up to oppose the plan at the standing room-only meeting in Santa Monica. Only one person - Mark Krause, the spokesman of PG&E - spoke in favor of the plan.  

Plan opponents wore colorful T-shirts and sweatshirts emblazoned with slogans such as “Seismic Matters” and “Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing,” and held up an array of signs and banners with messages ranging from "Make Love Not Noise" to the American Indian Movement (AIM) banner, "We are the First Americans of this Great Land."

One speaker after another, including a united contingent of Indian Tribes and organizations, blasted PG&E’s plan during the public comment period.

"The Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, a sovereign nation, calls on all peoples to protect our marine relatives and all of our sacred sites on land or in the water, registered or not," Crystal Baker, Board Member of the Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, told the Commission. "PG&E's own Environmental Impact Report acknowledges that the proposed testing will have 'significant and unavoidable impacts' to marine life on our Indigenous Sacred Sites and the Public Safety."  

“We ask all Peoples of all Nations to let your voice be heard before this act of ecocide moves forward and stand with us now to stop seismic testing,” she urged.

The project, proposed under the auspices of gathering information for PG&E’s Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, would have involved towing powerful air cannons off the Central Coast, shooting deafening underwater explosions (upwards of 250 decibels) every 13 seconds for 17 straight days.  

The high energy testing would have resulted in potential injury and death to thousands of whales, dolphins and other marine mammals, along with chinook salmon, steelhead, rockfish, halibut and a host of fish species, according to those who testified. They agreed with the Coastal Commission staff, who urged the Commission to reject the permit, since the danger posed to marine life would be great while the information to be obtained by the survey could be obtained by analyzing existing data.  (http://documents.coastal.ca.gov/...)

The testing would have impacted marine life in the Point Buchon State Marine Reserve and other marine protected areas that went into effect in September 2007 under the Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative.  
After hearing public comment, the Commissioners explained their reasons for opposing the approval of the permit.

"These tests are not going to do us any good in terms of protecting the public welfare - and the environmental impacts of this project were understated," said commissioner Jana Zimmer.  

Some Commissioners voiced their support for closing Diablo Canyon and other nuclear power plants. "I personally believe the state is asking the wrong question," said Mary Shallenberger, Commission Chair. "We should be asking how to get nuclear plants off our coast."  

Likewise, Commissioner Martha McClure stated, "It's time to close these plants. It's time to convert them over to solar energy."  

Representatives of Indian Tribes, environmental organizations and fishing groups celebrated the Commission decision.  

Fred Collins, Administrator for the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, praised the decision. "Mother Earth, our ancestors, the animal nation and the animal nation were all heard with one resounding voice. We must care for all things," said Collins.  

Joey Racano of the Stop Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing Facebook Community (www.facebook.com/StopTheDiabloCanyonSeismicTesting) stated, "The Commission thoughtfully made the right choice that they can't do it here. In case PG&E comes back again, we will be watching."  

“We are pleased the California Coastal Commission strongly upheld the Coastal Act by denying this terribly harmful project,” said Stefanie Sekich-Quinn, Surfrider Foundation’s California Policy Manager. “The large public attendance today demonstrates just how citizens can greatly influence decision makers. Surfrider Foundation believes taxpayers, ocean users and marine life are better off because of this decision.”  

The Surfrider Foundation, Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd, Stop Diablo Canyon Testing Facebook Community and other environmental and fishing groups groups maintain that similar surveying information already exists and the project would unnecessarily put marine life at risk.  

"We thank the Coastal Commissioners and staff for taking a stand in defense protection our coastal recreation and marine life,” says Dr. Chad Nelsen, Surfrider Foundation’s Environmental Director. “While everyone wants a safe nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon, this project was not the right way to get there. The threats from seismic testing to marine wildlife and ocean recreation are so severe it should be considered the last resort, not business as usual."  

Marcus Lopez, Co-Chair of the Barbareno Chumash Council of Santa Barbara, said, "Congratulations to all who participated to defend our relatives! What we did do is to be a good ancestor in that we defended the voiceless in our people's terms. We were the voice of the voiceless."(http://northernchumash.wordpress.com/...)

"We had a United Front consisting of Northern Chumash Council, Coastal Band of the Chumash Nation, the Wishtoyo Foundation, the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Development and the American Indian Movement of Southern California. It also included the many local and not so local individuals that gave their support and time to let others of the non-Indian and Indian Peoples understand this all important topic. This issue is not “dead;” our vigilance is vital."  

Corine Fairbanks of the American Indian Movement of Southern California summed up the meeting. "It was a wonderful day - over 300 people in attendance at the Coastal Commission meeting regarding the PG&E proposed seismic testing off the coast of Central California. Over 175 people signed on to make public comment on November 14, and the Chumash Delegation, including Angela Mooney-D’Arcy, of the Acjachemen Nation, made some key points that were not being addressed, stopping the entire room with an eloquent and powerful delivery," she stated.  

Zeke Grader, executive director of the Pacific Coast Federation of Fisherman's Associations, said, "We're pleased and hope this is the last we see of PG&E's plan. The good news is that this it has drawn to public attention the seismic surveys, which are used extensively by the offshore oil industry."  

"The other good news is that many of the proponents of the marine protected areas created under the MLPA Initiative are starting to wake up to the fact that fishing is just one small part of protecting the ocean. A lot of other things need to be considered, including pollution, offshore oil drilling, noise impacts and future development such as offshore aquaculture and deep sea mining," he concluded.  

The MLPA Initiative, overseen by a big oil lobbyist, marina corporation executive, coastal real estate developer and other corporate operatives with numerous conflicts of interest, fails to protect the ocean from oil drilling and spills, seismic and military testing, pollution, wind and wave energy projects and all human impacts other than fishing and gathering.

Grassroots environmentalists and fishermen are hoping that the Coastal Commission decision serves as a precedent under which human impacts other than fishing and gathering will be prohibited in marine protected areas.

There is no doubt that the huge outpouring of opposition by a diverse community of Tribal representatives, environmentalists, recreational anglers and commercial fishermen sent a clear and unmistakable message - the people of California will not allow their government to sacrifice whales, dolphins, salmon, halibut, rockfish and other marine life at the "altar" of corporate greed.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Congratulations and thank you (10+ / 0-)

    to all those who fought this assault on the coastal waters. Being forced to endure this is unspeakable:

    deafening underwater explosions (upwards of 250 decibels) every 13 seconds for 17 straight days.
    Compared to solar? O.M.G.!

    All the best in keeping up the good fight!

    "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

    by cotterperson on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 06:42:07 PM PST

  •  yes yes YES YES OH FUCKIN HOORAY (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, Mary Mike, chimene, S F Hippie, brook

    thank you for this info
    yes yes yes
    and thank you for all your work

  •  One can never be TOO fond of climate change, (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Farugia, alain2112

    can one?

    The attempts by the purveyors of anti-nuke fear, ignorance and superstition, never tire of trying to burn MORE gas, MORE coal, and MORE oil.

    It's not like they give a rat's ass about the fact that - half of whom are under the age of five, that would be one person every 9.6 seconds, about 6 every minute, 377 every hour, about 9000 every damn day.

    But what have we here?    Anti-nukes trying to create more air pollution.

    Diablo Canyon went on line in 1986, and during the entire period of operation provided the power for about 2,000,000 homes without a single loss of life.

    Since it went on line air pollution, according to the World Health Organization killed 78,000,000 people, give or take a few million, more people than died in World War II.

    Hurricane Sandy, which passed through my state a short while ago, destroying millions of trees, hundreds of lives and an untold number of homes didn't kill as many people as died at the famous Fukushima earthquake, which was between 15,000 and 20,000 people from causes that had nothing to do with nuclear power - not that the scientifically illiterate fear and ignorance mongers gave a fuck about any of these dead.    Rather they were focused on burning gas and coal to run servers hoping fervently, deeply that someone, anyone, would die from radiation from the failed reactors.

    In fact there has not been one such death, but if there were 10,000 deaths - filling the Greenpeace crowd with joy and glee - it wouldn't have amounted to a day and a half of air pollution deaths, including 5,000 small children.

    When the hurricane struck here, destroying so much of the infrastructure here, I thought of all the dumb ass anti-nukes in the world and how they have caused this great planetary scale tragedy to befall us because they can't add, subtract, multiply or divide.

    ...Because they, in their moral voids, insist that nuclear power, and only nuclear power be risk free, or else all the things that could never be as good, as clean, as sustainable can kill at will.

    The great American climate scientist, Jim Hansen - who some anti-nukes have the unmitigated gall to cite here - wrote an opinion piece for an Australian newspaper entitled Only a carbon tax and nuclear power can save us.

    I - with great respect - disagree.

    I say nothing can save us.    We're done.   We're cooked.    Fear and ignorance and superstition have prevented nuclear energy from doing what it might have done to create a sustainable world, mostly because left and right in this country - the world's largest polluter - dumb people hate the contents of science books.

    Heckuva job anti-nukes.   Congratulations.

    You must be very, very, very, very, very, very, very proud.

    •  Why yes, NN. I am (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      S F Hippie, brook, Joieau

      very, very, very, very, very, very, very proud of those that attended and spoke.

      Yes, yes I am.

      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 Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:37:16 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  No doubt. (0+ / 0-)

        There are very, very, very, very, very, very few people who offer up fear, ignorance and superstition who are not proud of what they do.

        One of the interesting - if frightening - features of ignorance is that, by definition, it is incapable of recognizing itself.   Were it able to recognize itself, of course, it wouldn't exist.

        Now, for the record, I grew up on Long Island.   And when I was a very, very, very, very, very stupid and ignorant kid, I helped to fight the Shoreham nuclear plant.    I've come a long way since then, mostly through the benefits of long and hard study of the contents of the scientific literature.

        Having surrendered the blissful comforts of ignorance, I am now especially deeply ashamed of what I did, and regret it enormously, especially because of all of the destruction that said youthful fear and ignorance did to the place I grew up.

        But you won, anti-nuke.    The seas are rising in applause.  

        Congratulations.

        •  Well, I'm very, very, very, very, very sorry (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ybruti, S F Hippie, brook, Joieau

          you feel that way.

          You can always go to hearings in your area and support nukes.

          But for me and mine, we are very, very, very, very, very, very interested in conservation and renewables.

          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 Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:52:12 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  You can't reason with it, cany. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            cany

            For people like this the deliberate killing of marine fish and mammals wholesale - in the confines of protected marine environments - is hunky-dory. There's no cure for that.

      •  As am I, cnay! (0+ / 0-)

        I saw my friends and neighbors speaking out and prevailing - a rare outcome when the citizenry takes on a corporate entity determined to run rampant on whatever part of the planet suits them.

        The view from my house looks over the bay where I watched
        dolphins and harbor seals playing together like children in a schoolyard last week. So, yes...protecting the ocean and its creatures will always be our job!

  •  Thanks, Dan. (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rja, Mary Mike, chimene, S F Hippie, brook, Joieau

    So Cal is going to have to undergo separate hearings on SONGS as I understand it, as well.

    The highest number of dolphins along the CA coast (and blue whales are here too along with any number of other species) are here in so cal.

    It's a real issue and I sincerely hope that those hearings get the same attention and turnout as the PG&E hearings.

    Glad you wrote on this. I started to do it yesterday, but ran out of time.

    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 Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:35:53 PM PST

  •  It is an interesting irony that they had (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    cany, rja, chimene, kaliope, brook

    absolutely no interest in seismic testing and seismic risk when they wanted to build it. Those opposing it repeatedly pointed out the local fault lines and they dismissed all consideration of them.

    That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

    by enhydra lutris on Fri Nov 16, 2012 at 07:54:32 PM PST

  •  It would be helpful (0+ / 0-)

    If the diarist were to provide links to the document(s) describing and commenting on the proposed testing, as well as any regulatory requirements to do seismic testing, so those unfamiliar with these proceedings can develop a better understanding of the issues.

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