Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is posed to conduct seismic testing in a grid pattern over a large area off the Central Coast of California from Cambria to the Santa Maria River. Tests could begin as early as September 2012 and last until the end of the year. The research ship would emit blasts of very loud noise into the ocean. Streamers four or five miles long would be towed behind the vessel, which would pick up the sound waves as they penetrate several miles into the Earth’s crust and reverberate back to the surface.
Tests would last for 24 hours and would kill or injure marine mammals, including whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals and otters. A deaf marine mammal is a dead one as this is the sense they rely on to communicate, navigate and find food. Seabirds and other species such as endangered sea turtles, could be affected as well, with little or no way of mitigating the impacts. Great potential harm is highly possible to the small population of harbor porpoises in the Morro Bay area. They are most sensitive to loud man-made sound and the mammal most vulnerable to habitat abandonment and to hearing loss.
PG&E’s position is that the tests are necessary to map the ocean floor so geologists can better understand the earthquake faults near Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant, close to San Luis Obispo, California. Earthquake faults were known at the time the plant was built. PG&E states these tests are essential in the aftermath of the Fukushima earthquake and subsequent tsunami, and the potential for a nuclear disaster.
If an earthquake happened within the near future, what could be done to ensure that the Diablo Canyon plant would not have a meltdown? How will these tests prevent that scenario? The nuclear plant was constructed knowing that faults were nearby and that earthquakes were a potential danger. Wouldn’t it make more sense to spend the millions of dollars the tests will cost to instead begin plans to shut down the plant and find ways to shift to safe energy? Wouldn’t this be wiser than destroying untold numbers of animals within a Marine Protected Area, particularly when the necessary safeguards have not been implemented?
> Petition | California Coastal Commission: Protect Whales~ Stop Seismic Testing off the Coast of Central California! | Change.org
The blue whales, humpback whales, sea otters, dolphins and porpoises living off of California’s central coast are at serious risk of coming under attack from deadly seismic testing.
An energy company called Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is trying to get approval to continue operating a dangerous nuclear power plant that sits at the intersection of multiple earthquake fault lines. It is hoping a map of the Shoreline Fault’s deeper regions will help with the approval process.
The testing proposal calls for powerful air cannons to shoot deafening underwater explosions every 13 seconds for 42 straight days to create a 3D map of the sea floor in an area that California has set aside as a marine reserve. According to one local official, the testing would "cleanse the Point Buchon State Marine Reserve of all living marine organisms." We can’t let that happen.
Tell the California Coastal Commission to block PG&E’s reckless seismic testing plan and to protect the blue whales, humpback whales and other creatures that call the Pacific coast of the United States home.