Coastal Commission denies seismic testing application

November 15, 2012

The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to deny PG&E’s seismic testing permit application and object to Diablo Canyon’s nuclear power plant’s consistency certification after almost 150 activists spoke against the testing.

Only PG&E employees spoke in favor of the seismic testing, which the Coastal Commission said in 2010 was a requirement for relicensing the plant so that it can remain online after its current license expires in 2024. During the lengthy meeting, three commissioners said they would like to see the plant shut down.

The seismic testing was slated to have severe adverse impacts on marine life and the commercial and recreational fishing industries. Of particular concern are impacts to the “harbor porpoise, whose range is limited to the general project area, and the entire population of which is likely to be subject to behavioral harassment,” commission staff said in their report.

PG&E applied for the Coastal Commission’s approval of its consistency certificate in 2009. The commission determined the application was incomplete partially because of a need for updated information regarding seismic studies that had been performed by the USGS and PG&E, according to a 2010 letter from the commission.

Then, in the aftermath of Japan’s nuclear calamity, the California Public Utilities Commission – the agency responsible for relicensing – directed the utility to do further seismic testing as part of its license renewal.

During the meeting, PG&E officials did not dispute the impacts seismic testing are slated to have on marine life and the fishing industry, but contend the long-term benefits outweigh short-term effects.

In 2010, 14 percent of California’s energy came from nuclear sources. Currently, the San Onofre plant is offline with no timeline for bringing it back.

Diablo Canyon is the largest private employer in San Luis Obispo County spending over $100 million per year in the county on products, services and wages. Paying higher than average wages, a shut-down is likely to have a profound economic impact of the county.


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I guess there is a good reason I haven’t subscribed to the Telegram Tribune for many years. Their “sensational vocabulary”, seismic “blasting” makes it sound like PG&E is detonating nuclear bombs off the coast of California. I believe that PG&E is mandated to do further studies by one or more of the several agencies they need to satisfy in order to renew their license. Commissioner Steven Kinsey doesn’t want the studies done because it opens the door for more nuclear power plants. Commissioner Martha McClure is bold enough to say she wants the plant shut down. Wow, a Coastal Commission made up of biased people who already have their mind made up, no matter what PG&E tries to do. I have had to deal with the Coastal Commission on several occasions and found them to be power hungry, short of outright dictatorial decisions.

Wiseguy refutes anything Brooks says. If indeed, Brooks is an oceanographer and did spend time on that boat, who better to believe? Wiseguy hasn’t given us his credentials. Yes, there will be some fish killed, but in reading the Coastal Commission report (It’s lengthy, but worth the time) they are also worrying about fish larva. Yea gads, is the Coastal Commission so narrow minded to believe they whole ocean revolves around a small area around Diablo Canyon. Yes there is always risk, but the question is, does the risk outweigh the benefit? I live 3 miles from Diablo Canyon. I don’t have a “bugout” bad prepared, nor do I walk the halls at night waiting for the sirens to go off. Sleep well my friends. It’s possible the sky really isn’t falling!

Read more here:

“…a shut-down is likely to have a profound economic impact of the county”? And just what would a nuclear accident, earthquake-related or not, do to our economy? How many might die? Is it really worth the risk?

Okay as an oceanographer and geologist I feel that this was incredibly mishandled, first of all, California is an incredibly seismic area and faults are a major concern. Does everyone want what happened in Japan to become commonplace because of activists who aren’t educated on practices of seismic surveys in this day and age. The boat slated for the job is a research boat that conducts these surveys as professionally as possible, I know because I spent two months on the vessel. They employ expert marine mammal officers and when any type of marine mammal is within radius, whether it be turtle or whale, the operation is shut down. And you guys have got to stop being so uneducated about the technique used, they use air guns not “air cannons” and it produces a pulse of air that comes out of a chamber and reaches a circumference of maybe a meter at best. The guns float Right below water level also so only floating aka planktonic creatures could be affected, and if ANY are sited the operation is shut down until none are visible! We are talking hours! Fish I saw were cited in the many comments, fish do not inhabit the upper four meters of water habitually especially not during the day when predators will kill them of they are at the surface! So I beg of you, don’t be so misled, it’s disturbing, especially in the aftermath of the eats coasts destruction, we can’t afford for this great nation to postpone a shoot that could keep nuclear power in Cali safe. If you don’t, you my friend are an idiot! I love whales, I love fish, I love the environment, I love people, I think California is awesome, I do NOT work for either side! Please be educated, it’s few and far between these days, seriously!

The observations of locals during the testing of the equipment tell a far different tale. They include radical changes in the behavior of otters and fish, and a larger-than-normal number of deceased sea animals found on the beaches. Add to that the well-documented data on porpoise deaths when the same kind of seismic testing was done in Peru, and this process looks to be far more harmful than you describe it to be. Watch the “reruns” of the CCC meeting on TV and listen to the speakers.

As three of the Commissioners said, the plant should be shut down. We already know that there are way too many faults around the plant for it to be safe, we know what they look like, and we already know that you can’t predict earthquakes accurately. Diablo Canyon was a really dumb place to put a nuclear power plant, and it’s time to correct that big mistake.

One of the things you find out when doing this kind of testing is where all the offshore oil and gas deposits are. The two local politicians who have been pushing the testing are former oil company employees and, through its affiliates, PG&E has a long history of working in the oil and gas exploration and drilling business. Coincidence? Maybe, but many of us don’t think so.

If this testing was about safety, why hadn’t the testing been brought forward before now? Fukishima was a convenient excuse to focus people on “safety”. Nuclear plants located on 13 earthquake faults will never be “safe”. The CCC called this one correctly.


“brooks”, what you write defies logic and seems to be another effort to spread misleading propaganda. To say that “only plankton creatures” are affected is blatantly FALSE and is contradicted by PG&Es own documents. The blasting absolutely affects marine life more than just in the “upper four meters” of the ocean.

“brooks”, I believe what you have written is PURPOSELY FALSE. Either that, or you truly do not know what you are talking about.

What the Coastal Commission has done is admirable. I think we should write them a thank you. We are very good at letting them know how we feel and just thinking this works both ways. Doing the right thing should get at least as much attention as the doing the opposite. Can only make them feel appreciated for doing the right thing. I for one am overjoyed with this decision. Here are the addresses if anyone else feels the same. As a matter of fact here are the addresses.

Central Coast District Office

Dan Carl, Deputy Director

Madeline Cavalieri, District Manager

725 Front Street, Suite 300

Santa Cruz, CA 95060-4508

(831) 427-4863

FAX (831) 427-4877


45 Fremont Street

Suite 2000

San Francisco, CA 94105-2219

(415) 904-5200

FAX (415) 904-5400

Gee if anyone knows how to put up a “sign this card thing” like they do for petitions that would be even better. Just got to let them know we appreciate it when they do the right thing.

This sentence says it all:

“Diablo Canyon is the largest private employer in San Luis Obispo County spending over $100 million per year in the county on products, services and wages. Paying higher than average wages, a shut-down is likely to have a profound economic impact of the county.”

So, in other words, as long as PG&E is throwing money at the community, we’re doing ok. BS!

The testing was totally unncessary. The CCC saw that and called it accordingly.