PG&E (Pacific Gas and Electric) of California has applied for a permit to conduct seismic testing of the sea floor just offshore of the Diablo Canyon and San Onofre nuclear power facilities. They propose to drag an array of 20 air canons that would emit 250-decibel blasts every 20 seconds for 42 consecutive days. Although no one can predict with any certainty the damage that will be done, PG&E's proposal anticipates the likely deaths of hundreds of marine mammals, including many Great Whales. Blues, humpbacks, fin whales, and grey whales are all expected to be in the area, as well as numerous species of dolphins, porpoises, seals and sea lions. The violent concussions from the air canons will blow out the ear drums of any marine mammals close by, and the painful injuries and death that will follow will be horrific. There will also be significant impacts on fish stocks, and the local fishing fleet and tourism industries that depend on the presence of the fish and marine mammals are up in arms.
Both nuclear power plants were built adjacent to significant earthquake fault zones, and the State of California has asked the company to do further analysis of the potential for a catastrophic accident should an earthquake occur nearby. But seismic testing is not required and there are other ways to get the same information without harming marine life. Since the faults are clearly established in existing geological surveys, it is not clear how more information would even improve the state’s potential response to a disaster that could rival or exceed the Fukushima debacle in Japan. Some argue the plants should simply not be relicensed.
On October 8th, a demonstration took place at Avila Beach to protest PG&E's permit application. GWC was there with Miz Blue to tell the State of California, the federal government (which must approve of this gross “take” of marine mammals to comply with the Marine Mammal Protection Act and the Endangered Species Act) and the California Coastal Commission that this application must be denied. The California Coastal Commission will be meeting to discuss the proposal on November 14th in Santa Monica.
For more information go to the Facebook page: stopthediablocanyonseismictesting
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