The gory details of Diablo’s seismic testing

August 31, 2012

Julie Tacker

OPINION By JULIE TACKER

Reading the Environmental Impact Report for the seismic testing proposed off our beautiful, so-called ‘protected’ coast, I do so with a box of tissues at my side and the tune of “Twelve Days of Christmas” dancing in my mind. Not necessarily because the testing will take place at holiday time, but because the surveys, from Cambria to Guadalupe, consist of life-threatening or outright deadly blasts of sound into the ocean every 15 seconds, over a 33-day period. We have begun a countdown of sorts.

Within the documentation on the project, the Environmental Assessment quantifies the “take,” defined as harass, harm or kill, asking for permission from the countless regulatory agencies weighing in, all under the guise of law AB 1632.

The worst case scenario, including a 25 percent contingency, the “take” count goes like the old Christmas song,…One minke whale, two sperm whales, five dwarf sperm whales, 15 blue whales, 13 humpback whales, 25 fin whales, 97 California gray whales, a single short-finned pilot whale, three baird’s beak, seven killer whales, eight striped dolphins, eight 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 dolphins… 76 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…and a partridge in a pear tree.

As if the images in my mind can’t get worse, I think of the types of effects these animals will incur:

Harassment; fear, flight, separation from mother’s, schools, and pods. Anything that raises the blood pressure of these magnificent creatures is harassment.

Harm; injury, deafness, tissue damage, entanglement from the 3.7 miles of cables and equipment dragged behind the ship, and “the bends” from diving deeper or faster than ever before, into places they generally don’t go. There is no “clambulance” to take the many injured to marine hospitals where volunteers will be overwhelmed with injured, dead and dying.

Kill; death to these sea creatures leaving decomposing carcasses on our beaches, in the water, and depleting food sources for other species and the shore dwellers including sea birds and fish’n chip loving humans.

Images of unsuspecting creatures who graced this earth long before we did pepper the pages of the EIR. Sea creatures at risk range from the largest animal ever, the great blue whale, to smaller-than-the-head-of-a-pin larvae of all kinds.

The economic impact ripples from the recreational aspect to those dependent on the sea for their livelihood. People will be advised to stay out of the water during these 33 days of surveys. No scuba diving, surfing, boating. Equals no sales at seaside coffee shops, dinners, hotel stays and those who have come to enjoy the Central Coast in the past may find new places to call vacation land when they’re turned away from their ocean play.

We are guests on this planet. We get but one shot at this life. While we are cozy in your homes, turkeys in the oven, holiday lights twinkling and wassail in our glasses, the death and destruction will be taking place in the coastal waters unless you speak up now. Take whatever time it takes, write or call your representatives. People can be very powerful if they make their voices known. It’s your turn to speak for those who can’t.

Julie Tacker is an advocate for transparency in government who lives in los Osos.

 


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Jeanne Blackwell

Who speaks for the sea life? What about all the life that is in the path of the blast that can’t move out of the way that is fixed, attached, microscopic, that all the other sea life depends on?


To impose such a test on a defenseless, unsuspecting, helpless population of life is equivalent to what would happen to the human population if Diablo was to experience a Natural seismic eruption. Do you think that we could get out of the way of the resulting radiation from Diablo in time? Do you think we could save our families, loved ones, who are at school, confined to hospital, in their cars driving to work, sound sleeping, having a barbeque in the backyard, celebrating a 1 year old birthday party? Did the people in fukushima perfecture have time to save their lives?


There is only one difference between the harm that can come from a natural disaster and the harm that can come from a man made one. We can prevent the one created by man. In our superior position as master over the dominions comes responsibility. And though we have come up with a million and ones to kill something, weeds, bugs, mountain tops, sealife, and each other we have yet to come up with one way to bring something back to life.


Until and when we are able to demonstrate we can act in a responsible manner and provide that which nature provides as the creator of life, we have no right to exercise our superiority without expecting to experience repercussions from a force whose whole intent and purpose is to maintain harmony and balance, procreate and propagate.


Our responsibility as participates and occupants in the life cycle provided for us as a gift from nature is to love, respect and appreciate it with all our heart. To do otherwise is only going to piss off our Benefactor who certainly has the power to remove those things that are upsetting Her master plan of harmony and balance that produces abundance and prosperity.


Nature has a way of getting even, that is Her nature. And if we think we can get away with murdering, hurting, harming and upsetting Her balance we have another think coming. Irresponsible actions proves our inferiority and stupidity. This test is a prime example of our inferiority. It will have unintended consequences, that Nature will provide and for which we are totally unprepared to cope with. It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature. She is no man’s fool.


If we don’t figure out a better way to conduct these tests without inflicting untold misery on our Benefactor then we have pretty much told Her we don’t want Her around anymore.


As a living, breathing being and immediate recipient in the bounty provided by Nature and on Her behalf I exercise my inalienable right to forbid any disruption or destruction to our natural environment as a result of inferior man made technology. Further, speaking on behalf of nature and in the only manner currently available to humankind as a means of communication let it be known I hold the perpetrators and trespassers upon my rights and the rights of nature personally responsible for any death or destruction resulting in said tests. My objections will be in the form of a class action lawsuit with Nature and all other natural beings totally dependent on a living thriving prosper environment as the plaintiffs. PG&E, regulatory agencies, government entities, CEO’s et al defendants. Natural living beings v Unnatural, fictitious persons. Should prove to be the fight of a life time.


Since our legal system is the only way we know how to communicate the Law of Equity it behooves us to incorporate the Laws of Nature as the primary source of that law into our system. Who speaks for Nature? All natural beings. So it is so shall it be.


Coaster

Every time I encounter this it seems beyond belief. Are they really going to do this? I think that they

Invented it because someone’s brother in law needed a job. It makes as much sense as fracking and we can’t get them to stop that either. It is amazing that this will go on. And it probably will. In the future they will be disgusted with us for allowing it.


spiritpen

No, coaster, it ain’t gonna be allowed.


ds_gray

First we have one special-interest group, demanding that the plant be PROVED safe, or denied re-certification and switched off. That ‘proof’ comes by way of seismic testing to ensure we don’t have another Fukishima incident here, Then another special-interest group declares that the testing to prove the plant is safe will be harmful to sea life, and kill off many species in the area.


Seems like two special interest groups, working independently of one another, have woven a web to achieve one shared objective: Shut down Diablo with any means possible. By blocking the tests, and blocking the re-certification until the tests are done, they get their prize: a cold reactor.


Sadly the special interest groups won’t be able to read about their achievement online – there won’t be any electricity coming out of the wall to power their computers or brew their lattes.


I am hopeful that Gates & Co. are successful with their plan to use spent nuclear fuel to run a power plant.


http://www.mnn.com/green-tech/research-innovations/blogs/bill-gates-billions-for-next-gen-nuclear


Harumph

The special interests will also wonder why their “clean” electric cars are not charging.


spiritpen

sounds like the one who is confused is you, ds_gray- whats so hard about the idea that ‘we already know enough to shut this puppy off because its on in around and near earthquake faults’?


Seismic testing is the real danger, because it allows pg and e to delay removal of the nuclear plant that sits on an earthquake fault.


ds_gray

I don’t recall mentioning being confused in my previous post, spiritpen. What I did was state an opinion based on fact, and offer an alternative to merely ‘shutting the puppy off’.


This ‘puppy’ as you quaintly put it, represents a significant investment in time, money, and hard work by the people who built it and continue to operate it. PG&E is acting as any responsible utility would – to keep this very expensive plant operating to protect that investment, so that they can continue to sell power generated by it to its customers.


There isn’t one square mile in this state that ISN’T ‘near’ an earthquake fault with a useful water source nearby, so why not just state your position as ‘anti-nuclear’ and be done with it?


You seem to be one who is confused, spiritpen. If Diablo is shut down, it will never be removed. Its containment will be there permanently, and the dry casks will remain as well, since the federal government has failed to adhere to its agreement to provide long term storage of spent nuclear fuel.


spiritpen

You say this puppy represents a significant investment of time money blah blah blah- WRONG YOU ARE=


This atom-bomb-on-a-beach represents organized crime (who put it there in the first place, just wikkipedia Abalone Alliance and read the history about Frank Sinatras Lear Jet, etc) and it represents a psycopathic disregard for the sea. It also displays a vulgar disregard for families living near these earthquake faults. Tey are danger enough even without a nuclear waste plant on top of them.


Please visit our facebook page:


Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic testing


Tale of the Whale


Every Whale has a great big tail and uses delicate ears to read his relatives mail


He has no phone and he has no address and seismic testing noise would make a great big mess


He talks across the ocean with his great big voice that he likes to keep low (it’s a matter of choice!)


A Whale speaks nine different dialects, did you know that?


and he exhales from a blowhole (so he can’t wear a hat)


He has a summer home in Avila where he gobbles up the Krill,


(then he uses abalone shells to settle up the bill)


People come from far and wide when Whales put on a show


so keep in mind to treat them kind (and thank them for the dough!)


-jr


celebratepaso

The EIR is there for each of us to read. Peru wasn’t too successful recently in saving the lives of their sea life while doing seismic testing – something like 615 dead dolphins washed up on shore the first day? I would hate to see that happen here. Pt. Bushon is there to protect our sea life and now PG&E is going in there to destroy it? This is fundamentally wrong.


Babak Naficy

juvenile and rude


abigchocoholic

Julie,


you said “details” in your title–and then provide none. I can pull the warning label off my aspirin bottle and show you the same type thing. Should I stop taking aspirin?


Are you an expert in seismic testing? Did you interview any experts? Did you do any research on other plants that have done seismic testing?


Did you do anything other than read the warning label on the bottle of apsirin? I suspect not. So guess how much weight your article deserves?


Bored Watcher

“Detail” is in the headline, headlines are put there by the editor, not the writer.


Detail, you want DETAIL…it’s there, it’s sickening.


One minke whale, two sperm whales, five dwarf sperm whales, 15 blue whales, 13 humpback whales, 25 fin whales, 97 California gray whales, a single short-finned pilot whale, three baird’s beak, seven killer whales, eight striped dolphins, eight 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 dolphins… 76 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.


Not enough detail for ya? Have you seen a list like this anywhere else? Looks like Julie is reading more than what the press wants to cover.


I’ll take one of those aspirin…I think I’m gonna be sick.


Harumph

What incident are you citing that caused this loss?


Bored Watcher

Did you read Julie’s piece? This is what the permit asks for. The “take” hasn’t happened yet, but will begin in November.


abigchocoholic

The “detail” you are quoting is the warning label. It’s a worst scenario theoretically possible. It hasn’t happened. It’s not at all likely to happen. But it’s theoretically possible. Get it?


If you take that warning label at face value, the aspirin you just took is going to give you hives, then facial swelling, then wheezing, then stomach bleeding, then stomach ulcers, then liver damage, then kill you.


Better take a few more aspirin because “the sky is falling, the sky is falling.”


Downtown Bob

I am concerned about this testing, yet the take listed simply does not make sense to me. Those animals are not in the area during the testing time are they?


abigchocoholic

Of course they’re not. It would be unbelievably densely populated if they all were here. And not even close to enough food for all of them.


But it’s 250 decibels per blast which would be one heck of a large noise through the air and you know how much better water conducts and this is over and over so I think the idea is that these blasts could affect life up to 100s of miles away.


On other hand, one underground earthquake probably makes a larger noise and those happen probably every day and boat and ship and jet ski engines are incredibly loud and they don’t seem to do any damage etc. etc. But none of those go off repeatedly over hours etc. etc.


Then we have the allegedly coincidental death of hundreds of dolphin and sea gulls in Peru at the same time they tested there and their denial that it had anything to do with sound. The alarmists say it was the seismic testing but how does seismic testing affect gulls?


Like I said, without more–without talking to experts and doing some research–this article offers zero information to the reader, nothing other than the warning label on the aspirin bottle.


spiritpen

Im no expert, but here’s my take:


Dead whales = BAD


Nukes + earthquake = BAD


simple, huh?


grayotter

Seems like this is all about PG&E trying to get their permit 10 years ahead of schedule. What’s the hurry? Why not wait another 10 years for geologic science to evolve into less invasive tests?


spiritpen

Just remove the plant NOW. BEFORE the quake comes. We know enough to do it already.


jimmy_me

I predict that this testing will find nothing that presents a danger to the Diablo Canyon plant. This new testing seems like a charade to justify business as usual. Last I heard, there is another fault, the San Andreas fault, that is ready to pop. That being the case, why do we need new seimic testing of any type?


Downtown Bob

I think that we all need to move away. But without Nuke and Coal, what will power our Volts?


spiritpen

You mean our Leafs, not the POS gas-tied volts, right? And I say, SUNSHINE.


BeenThereDoneThat

Is there other ways to test for the seismic fault?


spiritpen

Yes, core sampling- but again, Seismic testing is the real danger, because it allows pg and e to delay removal of the nuclear plant that sits on an earthquake fault. Same goes for any tests. Take it down.