PG&E’s pending assault on the sea and gray whales

September 12, 2012

OPINION By ROGER CLEARY

Some say, short of thermonuclear war, PG&E’s Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, with its radioactive, spent fuel posing a toxic hazard lasting longer than we Homo sapiens have populated this planet presents the biggest threat to our land and sea. One that with either PG&E or one of its corporate successors at the helm, aided and abetted by its state regulatory sponsors, will eventually render our California scenic central coast permanently uninhabitable like parts of Fukushima Japan. And that we ought not to grant PG&E plant any more permits.

PG&E’s no doubt sincere new CEO Tony Earley  took over the reins after a half dozen years of missteps from Peter Darbee. Darbee stepped down with a mere $35 million retirement package from this Fortune 200, energy-based, holding company parent to Pacific Gas and Electric, California’s largest investor owned utility. Alan Gordon, the State Lands Commission’s August 20 public hearing acting chair, which granted PG&E’S seismic testing permit, needs to come clean on their sans souci, hey, no troubles, mate attitude.

Some say the “fix was in” between Alan Gordon, pretending to consider input from a public meeting hearing’, and Ken Wiseman, Executive Director of the totally phony, for public consumption only,’newly evolving Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA).

Whatever their relationships, these three questionable characters need to address the underlying, pretend claim that Diablo Canyon nuclear waste storage poses no public concern problem. A good start for these three would be to step up to the plate, set an example, and show the public that they are well-meaning public servants by burying Diablo Canyon’s spent fuel in their back yards. We would sure rest a lot easier if they would just take that first simple step to reassure us.

News Alert. Russia has been secretly dumping its nuclear wastes into the arctic seas where the gray whales feed, while the Japan plan is to dispose of its Fukishima nuclear mess into the forest to poison, into perpetuity, their unsuspecting forestry friends .

PG&E’s Tony Earley, State Lands’ Alan Gordon, and MLPA Executive Director Ken Wiseman, do not own the Pacific Ocean’s marine mammal, wild sea life, nor is it theirs to destroy.

The gray whales, magnificent sea creatures in their own right, a gift to all humanity from father God and mother nature, growing up to 50 feet in length and weighing more than 50,000 pounds, thriving through more than 30 million years of evolution, are now being driven to extinction in a few short centuries.

With the north Atlantic population ruthlessly, and mindlessly hunted to extinction in the 18th century by the then inhuman captains of commerce, in conjunction with their government regulatory sponsors, and the north Pacific western population now near extinction, all that we have left of this 30 million year old magnificent leviathan of the sea is the North Pacific eastern population. Our California gray whales population has plunged from more than 100,000 a few short centuries ago, to less than half that now.

In 1936, the gray whale became a protected, endangered species in U.S. waters.

As PG&E and the three questionable characters undoubtedly know, the well established primary extinction threats to this, the only remaining Gray whale population survival hope, are the oil and gas exploration geophysical seismic surveys of the type PG&E proposes for this November, as one of our San Luis Obispo County supervisors seems to understand. The near shore industrialization and shipping congestion throughout their migratory corridors, human commercial predation, ocean pollution, and again, the acute noise from PG&E’s proposed, underwater, seismic testing, is less than two months away.

During a more than 5,000 mile migration northward along the continent to the gray whales’ summer season, amphipod-filter-feeding, Bering and Chukchi seas destination. This last remaining gray whale population, and not this wild mammal species alone, belongs to all the people on the eastern pacific shores.

In their more than 5,000 mile long return migration, because they are no longer able to birth in the polluted, congested, industrialized waters off southern California, they must travel still further south to the Baja California calving lagoon.  Again, they belong to all the people of the eastern pacific shores and not just to PG&E’S Tony Earley, State Lands’ Alan Gordon, and MLPA’S Ken Weisman.

So Peter, Alan, and Ken’s second step should be to assure us of the solvency, and PG&E’S willingness to shore up its marine mammal and sea-food-fishing-loss trust fund as necessary to the certainly more than $1 trillion needed to cover the costs of all their marine mammal loses, plus whatever additional compensation would be appropriate for further diminishing the quality of life for everyone by hastening this rush to extinction.

Perhaps Earley, Gordon, and Weisman could cough up a contrition contribution to the trust fund to salve their consciences.

Roger Cleary lives in Cambria.

 


3 Comments

  1. morpheus says:

    PGE is jumping on the opportunity to perform a short-sighted study, with the outcome being the renewal of their 20 year operating permit under the guise of having addressed the seismic issues associated with Diablo Canyon.

    The nearly irrelevant study will not do anything to address the myriad of concerns associated with this facility, the most glaring that it is inappropriately located. There is so much focus on determining the presence of offshore faults that once the “results” are presented, there will be nothing left to be concerned about….Right? What happened to concerns about impingement and entrapment, killing an estimated 1.5 billion larvae per year in the once-through cooling system, waste removal and storage, local seawater temperature rise, to name a few.

    With the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary 30 miles to the north and the Channel Islands Sanctuary not far south, it is nearly incomprehensible that this thinly-veiled farce would be allowed here simply to rationalize a permit. PGE must be thrilled that they are nearly guaranteed a permit, and nobody is talking about the rest!

    You know what the findings will be, and the permit will be renewed. Sadly, sealife will suffer dearly from this charade. I would almost prefer that the permit was renewed without the testing.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  2. salty says:

    Apparently ds_gray needs to evolve a little further to wrap his underdeveloped head around the
    Implications of PGE’s utility payers’ funded seismic testing enterprise. Me thinks those gray whales
    have a fin up on you, ds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 4

  3. ds_gray says:

    The only part of this ‘article’ that made any sense was the last sentence – “Roger Cleary lives in Cambria.”

    I enjoyed the Fukishima ‘forest friends’ reference (good alliteration) and the flashback to the evil bogey-men of the 20th century – the Russians – dumping nuclear waste in the sea.

    Y’know, them evil ruskies have a couple nuke submarines rotting at the bottom of the Berant’s Sea, complete with rusting, unshielded reactors…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 14

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