UPDATE: Undersea Hiroshima: The Great Central Coast Seismic Test Disaster

UPDATE (September 28): SEISMIC PROJECT DELAYED, DOWNSIZED. PG&E’s controversial Central Coastal California Seismic Imaging Project has been delayed and shrunk in size, but is still very much a threat to sea life in Estero Bay, in particular. The Coastal Commission announced on Sept. 27 that PG&E had scaled back its project to include only the survey of “Box 4” in Estero Bay, off the coast of Cayucos, Morro Bay and Los Osos. As a result of PG&E’s sudden dramatic move, according to a staff spokesperson, the Commission “therefore postponed our October hearing on the project and will be shifting our review to this new proposal. We anticipate bringing the coastal development permit application and consistency certification for this revised project before the Coastal Commission at its November (14-15) hearing in Santa Monica. We expect to receive a detailed description of this new proposal on Monday and will post it on our website as soon as we receive it.” PG&E’s change of plan came only days after Fish & Game Commissioners attending a workshop in Sacramento on the seismic test announced they would challenge the test and recommend highly restrictive conditions on their scientific “take” permit, and two weeks before the Coastal Commission was to seek a permit for the project in its now-truncated configuration at the Coastal Commission meeting in Oceanside on Oct. 10. Advance word from Coastal staff had warned PG&E that the project did not conform with the Coastal Act and could face stumbling over the last high-value permit necessary to conduct the test. Assuming Coastal now issues PG&E a permit, the contained test could start in “Box 4” in mid to late November. They could still return next year during the same time frame to complete the survey. PG&E’s new proposal will likely be posted as a link on the Coastal Commission agenda at: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/mtgcurr.html or at: http://www.coastal.ca.gov/energy/seismic/seismic-survey.html

MEETINGS TO WATCH: For more information, watch the following meetings courtesy of CAL-SPAN:

UPDATE: On Monday, August 20, the State Lands Commission (SLC) in Sacramento issued PG&E a permit to conduct 3D high-energy seismic tests in protected waters off the Central Coast to measure earthquake fault lines around the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant in Avila Beach. Testing will be split into two phases over two years. The first round of testing is now set to run from the middle of November to the end of December of this year, with the intent of working during the window of a favorable season to limit harm to marine life. If PG&E does not  gather sufficient data during phase one this year, which is expected to be the case at this point, they could return next year to complete the survey if needed. Among other conditions placed on the project, including extensive monitoring to attempt to protect mammals before, during and after tests, the SLC also approved independent third-party review to provide the SLC with further direction in finishing the survey. PG&E still needs permits from other agencies, such as the Department of Fish & Game and the Coastal Commission, before the high-decibel tests, a serious threat to marine life, can begin.

Quiet Morro Bay is about to become ground zero for a sonic attack it will never hear, but will surely see, the aftermath of what locals fear are catastrophic environmental and impacts that will last for months and years to come.

In a highly controversial tradeoff between a high-energy seismic test to capture 3D images of the fault lines under and around nearby Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant — and marine life in the protected Point Buchon Marine Reserves as well as vast tracks of surrounding ocean — the State Lands Commission decided on August 14 to approve PG&E’s dangerously flawed Environment Impact Report so PG&E could pursue additional permits needed to launch the Central Coastal California Seismic Imaging Project – at the expense of Morro Bay’s historic ecosystem, marine life and migrating mammals, and fishing industry, the source of its economic lifeblood.

If PG&E continues to push through the complex permitting process, which includes getting passed the watchful California Department of Fish & Game, testing could begin off the Central Coast on October 1.

At the August 13 meeting, the State Lands Commission, the lead agency for the controversial project, held back on issuing PG&E an SLC permit for at least once week until better defined, more stringent conditions on impacts, compensation and long-term monitoring could be attached to the permit.

Nevertheless, despite the additional permitting conditions and lingering serious concerns about long-term damage to fish and mammal population caused by frequent, high-decibel sound blasting of the ocean, the Commission’s approval of the EIR signaled that PG&E’s testing would not be stopped or delayed for more intense review. This was seen locally as a serious blow to Morro Bay’s resurgent fishing industry and a formidable threat to Morro Bay’s future as a tourist destination, and beyond, as a seaside community.

During the seismic testing, scheduled to run from October 1 through December 15, the Morro Bay fishing industry will be forced far outside their fisheries, which will slash catch rates during and after the tests, or face shutting down operations for the season or longer. How long impacts will last, what the real damage is to fish and fisheries, related industries and shore communities are unknown. Yet the test will take place anyway.

The State Lands Commission appeared to buckle under PG&E pressure to meet a questionably rushed PG&E timeline and certify the EIR, which fails to accurately represent the extent and value of potentially catastrophic damage to marine life as well as the economy of Morro Bay.

There still remains a chance that State Lands or the California Department of Fish & Game could phase the project over two years, splitting the survey over two seasons, which would shorten this year’s testing period from early November to mid December of this year. But, either way, unavoidable or avoidable with more fortitude and time to review, incalculable damage will be done, according to local activists and government agency representatives alike.

Commission staff acknowledged that, despite mitigation measures, impacts from the proposed project remain “significant and unavoidable” and would result in the “take” of marine species in protected areas, which is prohibited without Department of Fish & Game approval. Those impacts to marine mammals, according to PG&E’s EIR, include injury or mortality from noise to resident harbor porpoises, migratory baleen whales and southern sea otters. However, impacts to fish and invertebrates were determined to be less than significant in the report.

The vessel used for testing: R/V Marcus G. Langseth

According to the Commission’s attorney, “Staff believes that the extreme and far-reaching consequences to both the regional economy and the environment that could result from a major failure at Diablo Canyon, and the possibility that new data about potential earth movement from seismic events could lead to improvements to the plant safety must be considered sufficient to over ride the clear concerns about the environmental impacts that will result in the collection of these data. We recommend the commission certify the EIR and approve the geophysical survey permit.”

Mark Krausse, Director of State Agency Relations for PG&E, said the company has been negotiating with fishermen on a compensation agreement for expected losses. “I can’t tell we’ve gotten to an agreement, but we continue to do that. If that process breaks down and we aren’t able to reach an agreement, PG&E has a very fulsome claims process for anyone who can prove damages. If somebody feels they haven’t been adequately compensated through that regular PG&E claims process – this is allowing that we don’t reach an agreement with the bulk of the fishermen – then they can go to a private arbitrator that we will pay for.”

About 50 area residents gathered at the Inn at Morro Bay on August 13 to watch the proceedings or speak during public comment at the State Lands Commission meeting in Sacramento, which was linked to Morro Bay via Skype. Many in Morro Bay will return to the Inn on August 20 for the SLC’s final permitting session. Almost all the speakers on August 13 asked the Commission to either stop or delay the test, citing the void of data on the short-term and long-term impacts of the testing on fish and marine mammals, unsettled compensation for the fishing industry, and for the economic ripple effect on shoreside businesses.

Speaking from Morro Bay during opposition comment in Sacramento, Morro Bay City Councilman Noah Smukler asked the Commission to take more time to review the lasting environmental and economic impacts of the project. “We see some direct threats to that (fishing and environmental) tradition here in the current proposal,” he said. “Our economy is directly connected to the health of our ecosystem and environment, and we have been making strong investments in our environments to help make sure that as we transition into the future that we’re able to depend on a healthy ecosystem. Our recent and well documented transition to sustainable fishing techniques is not only showing an improvement in the ecosystem but in the landings and the value of those landings at our local docks. We’ve also doubled down on our investment in ecotourism and in trying to establish ourselves as a place that takes care of the environment…

“Throughout the report there are a number of ‘significant and unavoidable biological impacts’ noted,” Mr. Smukler said, “and it seems those are basically dismissed. We have concerns about those. There really has not been adequate analysis of these biological impacts and also the economic impacts. That’s a concern. … Overall, we have seen what appears to be an undervaluing of our landings and further on the economic impacts the potential project could have throughout our economy, not just on fishing but on the hotel, retail, restaurant industries and basically the livelihoods of people that live and depend on Morro Bay’s economy.”

Giovanni DeGarimore, owner of Giovanni’s Fish Market and STAX Bistro on Morro Bay’s Embarcadero, and whose brothers currently operate fish industry businesses locally, told the Commission from Morro Bay: “We depend very highly on the commercial catch. I’m very concerned with the EIR. It doesn’t seem to spell out any long-term mitigation for shoreside services or infrastructure, and I believe that should be required in this report, and it’s just not. The EIR does not quantify or assess these effects, and doesn’t identify any mitigation or compensation. That doesn’t seem right to me.

“I heard a lot of slick talking at the beginning of this hearing from people that sounded a lot like politicians,” Mr. DeGarimore said, “but I’m just going to be real simple. Something stinks here. Looking at the big picture, it just doesn’t sound right. The taking – whether you call it catching or killing or whatever you’re doing — of fish, baby sea otters, whales, turtles, fishermen, is not right. You’re going to be killing our community, you’re going to be killing our resources, and it’s not something I support.

“I’m not anti nuclear but I am anti-killing of our resources and killing of our fishing industry. It’s not right,” he said. “You’re going to be shooting 300-inch cannons to the tune of 250 decibels – 235 decibels have been shown in naval studies to make jelly out of dolphins’ brains, to cause hemorrhaging in whales. We’re talking about baby sea otters, we’re talking about whales, we’re talking about fishermen, we’re talking about people. Let’s not ram this through. Let’s step back and think about what’s good for the people and the environment.”

Brad Cunningham, Morro Bay commercial fisherman and business owner, told the Commission. “From a fishing perspective, I’d like to look at this as long-term impact. We’re not looking at this but as an immediate impact. As a fishing community and a city, this could have some devastating, long-term impacts to the fishing community and the people of the state of California. From the socio-economic standpoint this will close my doors. I will be out of my business. I cannot afford to stay in business for two or three months with no activity at my fishing facility.”

William Walter, attorney for the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization, reminded the Commission that “the best representatives of the commercial fishing industry are in fact the fishermen. Unfortunately, they’re out working as they need to do, so many that would want to be here, of the 120 members, can’t be here. But listen to the fishermen that are here because they are the experts, they live it and they know it…

“PG&E indicated that there would be monitoring and mentioned Cal Poly,” Mr. Walter said. “That is important. But mitigation only works when it’s required; I don’t see the requirement in the findings for the long-term fishery impacts. PG&E mentioned that mitigation or compensation would be required; I don’t see that. (PG&E’s ‘good faith’ compensation declaration) is so ‘waffly’ that it’s an unenforceable condition. We propose before, during and after mitigation of biological resources… Last, socio-economic impacts (of the tests) have impacts on the land. Morro Bay becomes a ghost town. That’s a significant impact upon the environment…”

San Luis Obispo County-based environmental activist and government watchdog Eric Greening believes the worst-case scenario already exists, so a survey isn’t need. He offered “a reality check about decibels. 250 just looks like a number. If you’re standing at end of a runway with a jet taking off a few hundred feet over your head, that’s 125 (decibels). 250 is not twice 125 because the decibel scale is logarithmic – every 20 points you go up 10 times an order of magnitude. We’ve been told that there’s somehow a ‘fudge factor’ for sound waves in water, but I’ve never heard anyone give that fudge factor more than 60 points. So at best we’re talking about something a thousand times louder than standing under a jet taking off at 200-300 feet over your head. We’re talking about doing that every few seconds for more than a month to all the creatures that live down there. We better have a damn good reason, and we don’t.

“Monitoring is simply assuming it’s OK (for marine life) to be the guinea pigs,” Mr. Greening said. “Where anywhere in this globe is there a study that shows that there is no long-term impact from this kind of seismic testing. This is going to kill sea life, it’s going to deafen the ones that survive… This will echo through generation after generation after generation — and they’re intelligent, sentient beings out there with brains bigger than ours. For what are we asking them to endure these impacts?”

Dean Wendt, Professor, Center for Coastal Marine Sciences at Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, summarized his evaluation of PG&E’s EIR for the SLO County Board of Supervisors on August 7. “As the State Lands Commission EIR highlights, there are going to be significant short-term impacts to marine life,” he said. “Fish are sensitive to a range of sound produced by the air guns, including startle responses, damaged auditory structures, and fish can hear these sound impulses many kilometers from the sound source. We know that larvae and embryos are sensitive and for many species they can suffer injury and increase mortality. …

“The EIR correctly reports that there have been few other efforts to examine whether air-gun releases significantly affect catch rates,” Dr. Wendt said. “There’s one study here locally that shows actually the catch rates in a measure of catch-per-unit effort decreases by 50% in the presence of air-gun releases, and another study that shows that cod and haddock fished with trawl and long line decreased by significant percentages as well. The EIR does highlight these findings, but they also conclude that there isn’t a significant impact long-term to fish populations and by extension commercial and recreational fishing industries, and I consider that somewhat problematic.

“To my knowledge,” he continued, “there are no peer-reviewed studies examining the long-term impacts to these populations, and what does exist has only been under very short time frame after seismic testing…

“I conclude that there are significant short-term impacts to marine life and to our commercial and recreational fisheries. That said, it’s unlikely that the seismic testing is going to sterilize our ocean; I think, though, that there is going to be an impact – and we don’t understand that – and so it’s necessary for us to really quantify that realized impact. That’s really unknown. How do those short-term impacts translate into long-term impacts into the population and our fishing communities? That is, are we looking at a 5% decrease or a 20% decrease or a 50% decrease in catch rates? That’s what we really don’t understand…”

Dr. Wendt called the lack of long-term data on the environmental impacts of seismic testing around the world “surprising… What happens a year later, two years later? If there is damage to the larvae, juveniles, or adults decide they want to leave? (There are) a number of different issues that could sum to some kind of long-term impact. Studies looking at those kinds of long-term impacts have not been done and they’re very hard to do… If you’re going to go forward with this then you might as well collect the data that allow you to speak about the real impacts of the project.

“In the EIR they concluded that there are less than significant long-term impacts, but they concluded that primarily — they’ll (PG&E) probably argue with me – because there really aren’t any data addressing those longer term impacts. So how do you compensate for something you don’t understand or know?”

Supervisor Bruce Gibson, a strong proponent of the overall seismic project, and whose 2nd District includes Morro Bay, questioned Dr. Wendt: “There’s a logical argument that might apply here. This kind of seismic testing has been going on in the Gulf of Mexico and Alaska for quite some time, along with other areas where fishing is a significant thing. By the same token, we haven’t seen studies that talk about those fisheries being particularly depressed in any way that we can see…”

Replied Dr. Wendt: “There are multiple impacts to these populations. And if there’s an impact that causing 10% decrease, and if you’re not looking for that impact, it can be there and the fisheries still functioning, but perhaps it’s functioning at a lower level than it could. I don’t think there’s going to be complete destruction of our ocean, but there could be very real long-term impacts that we just don’t understand at this point.”

Lori French, a past director of the Morro Bay Commercial Fisherman’s Organization and a longtime fisherman’s wife, cut the bait for the Commission: “Common sense dictates that 250 decibels of sound will destroy anything in the path that the sound waves travel…

She added, “We do not feel that PG&E has truly shown an interest in protecting our ocean and our livelihood and that of our infrastructures. If this goes through there needs to be serious compensation for all entities affected and long-term monitoring of our ecosystem. We’re talking not weeks and months but years. We feel that our livelihood will be affected for years. PG&E has been a bully in this case. They really haven’t responded to the commercial fishermen, addressing our concerns about the short, long-term and very, very long-term of our oceans.”

John Rawley, a Morro Bay Fisherman since 1970, expressed his concerns to the SLO County Board of Supervisors on August 7. “Right now, you read in the paper how Morro Bay is making a comeback as a fishing community. Everything’s starting to go better as they progress here, but there’s nobody addressing anything about the harm to the infrastructure here. Mr. Strickland (Diablo Canyon Director of Nuclear Projects) said that they hadn’t gotten that far yet. But what’s a very real possibility, as I’m commercial fishing now, is I could lose my market because we can’t supply it during this time frame. They’ll find somebody else to supply it and we’ll be out of business. Why hasn’t anything been considered about the infrastructure, just the fishermen, not our markets we have to sell to? If our markets are harmed, we’re going to be harmed.”

Tom Hafer, a Morro Bay commercial fisherman since 1973, and a director of the Morro Bay Commercial Fisherman’s Organization, told the Board of Supervisors: “Our stance on this is we don’t want this test to happen. It’s going to be a big problem for the fishing community. We’re going to be displaced from our areas where we fish. The sound travels 20-30 miles at 248 decibels — it’s equal to a Nagasaki, Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion at the bottom. That’s going to kill stuff. That’s going to be a big problem, and being displaced from the fishing areas we fish – we just can’t move. A lot of us fish traps, we fish hook and line, there’s certain areas where there’s fish, there’s certain areas where there’s not fish. That time of the year it’s the best fishing weather. You were asking about seasons. Right then, starting in November is dungeness crab season. It’s spot prawn season then, the best spot pawn season right then. The ocean is flat, that’s our best time of year. There’s just so much that we’re going to have to change to conform with PG&E. We’re going to have to change our whole routine. I’m not going to be able to fish where I fish, Bill won’t be able to fish where he fishes, John won’t even be able to fish where he fishes for hag fish because they’re right there. So they’re just going to have to move somewhere else, but who knows if there’s going to be any slime eels there or not?

“We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to do,” Hafer said. “We’ve got all our information, how much we catch in those months, we’ve sent it to them. So we’ve done all our part of this thing, so now it’s their turn to tell us what they’re going to do and how they’re going to make this thing right because this is going to kill Morro Bay and Avila.”

Bill Blue, a commercial fisherman in Morro Bay since 1974, told the Board of Supervisors: “One of the main seasons that the tests are going to impact is the dungenous crab season, which is a seasonal fishery as opposed to the other fisheries that take place year round. It’s a cyclic fishery, it’s on the upscale. We were seeing very good quantities of two or three years of crabs for future seasons…

Continued Mr. Blue, “As far as us picking up and moving, as Mr. Hafer said, it’s very difficult for a trap operation to move out of an area and we were fishing right in the southern area of ‘the racetrack,’ as they refer to it. Other fisheries are going to be jeopardized that can’t move — some of the disabled’s fisheries; a lot of the fishermen who participate in that have quota, and the quota has to be caught between certain guidelines of geographic area, so for them to move out of the area is impossible. That fish has to be caught in that particular region, so those type of things need to be considered in the mitigation plan if there is to be one. Our wish is that the survey doesn’t happen. They built it on a fault to begin with. Why not just make the plant safe to the greatest magnitude of earthquake that could happen – you create jobs in the community, the plant would be safe, and you’d save the ocean environment as well.”

Mandy Davis, Morro Bay naturalist and guide representing the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, told the Commission: “If you ratify this seismic testing and allow this happen, the CSLC will have to adopt a statement of overriding considerations. What considerations will you be overriding? You will be overriding the health and well being of my community. You will be overriding our right as human beings, as creatures, as stewards of this earth to be able to live in a healthy place, to be able to continue to have the relationships with these creatures whether or not they are economic, whether or not they are recreational, whether or not they are purely intrinsic. You will be overriding that consideration, and you do not have the right to override that. I’ve noticed within this report I keep seeing the same darn words over and over and over again and it just chaps my hide – those words are ‘significant and unavoidable.’ We have heard the significance of the biological data, of the cultural data, of the economic data. Now I want to hear why you think that’s so darn unavoidable. You can avoid it by not doing the project. It is not necessary. It is avoidable.”

Joey Racano with the California Ocean Outfall Group, told the Commission from Morro Bay : The ocean isn’t what it used to be. That’s why we created the Marine Life Protection Act to makes a series of marine protected areas up and down the coast with the hopes of our state marine reserves having a spillover effect to bring the oceans back to a natural state of health and abundance. One of the things that it looks like this seismic testing would do is destroy the recently anointed Point Buchon State Marine Reserve. That is out of the question. … From what I’m hearing at the State Fish & Game Commission level is that the destruction is going to be total, and I have no reason to doubt that.”

Tiffany Sykes, wife of a Morro Bay fisherman speaking for her husband who was out fishing, told the Commission. “In June 2012 Morro Bay was received national recognition for its efforts to preserve its historical fishing industry. Morro Bay commercial fishermens’ organizations and individuals have made considerable investment changes to enhance the fishing industry. Morro Bay is selling more ice, fuel, and has increased employment on the docks. There’s new fishing boats in Morro Bay, equipment, totes and forklifts. We have extended the markets in Morro Bay. Morro Bay has a great working waterfront. (PG&E’s) July 2012 EIR doesn’t do Morro Bay justice… In 2011 Morro Bay commercial fisherman generated more than $7 million in earnings, from $4.4 million in 2010. That’s a 69% increase, and I wouldn’t be surprised if 2012 numbers were even better.”

Mary Webb, Vice President of Greenspace, the Cambria lands trust founded in 1988, speaking from Morro Bay, noted that the seismic study area includes newly established marine protected areas Point Buchon, Point Buchon State Marine Conservation Area and Reserve, White Rock Cambria Conservation Area and Cambria State Marine Park. “It’s explicitly prohibited with in Marine State Reserves under the Marine Life Protection Act,” she cautioned.

“They use the word ‘take.’ This means ‘the killing, harming or removing of marine resources.’ This proposed study describes ‘significant and unavoidable impacts’ and take to whales, fish, dolphins, porpoise, turtles, sea otters, mammals and other protected species and habitats. In fact, there are so many impacts that the list of agencies that need to approve this includes the California Coastal Commission, California Dept. of Parks & Recreation, California Dept. of Transportation, the Water Quality Control Board, State Historic Preservation Office, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Army Corps., Coast Guard, Fish & Wildlife Service – and that leaves us with the Dept. of Fish and Game.

“Hundreds of stakeholders were involved in the Marine Life Protective Act,” Miss Webb said. “These areas were designed specifically with certain boundaries and geographical locations to protect certain species from marine reserve to marine reserve, and there’s supposed to be interconnectivity between those reserves, so even if you take Cambria off the map, it still will affect the reserves below it. We are not just concerned about Cambria, we’re concerned about Port St. Louis and Morro Bay and the North Coast. There seem to be too many unknowns to approve a permit at this time.”

Local attorney Chris Cummings said at the August 7 San Luis Board of Supervisors meeting, “It seems to me if that analysis is done, it seems that the negative consequences of doing the proposed testing far outweigh the consequences of not doing the testing….  I appreciate that PG&E does have much information on the seismic dangers of these faults near Diablo – we already know that there are faults there, we already know they are capable of producing major earthquakes. I’m not sure exactly what we need to know and, again, I don’t think that the information that we would find out would outweigh the consequences of doing the proposed seismic testing which, again, from the EIR is that ‘injury or mortality to marine mammals would occur. This impact is significant and unavoidable.’”

“It sounds like to me that we’re prepared to kill marine mammals of our coast to accomplish this project,” Miss Cummings added in Morro Bay on August 13. “I’m particularly concerned about the impact on the harbor porpoise which is a resident species and of high density within the project area. These mammals are considered to have high sensitivity to seismic exploration sound. If the effects on the whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions and especially the harbor porpoises are as I read them, I oppose this project.”

Paul Hovey of Ocean Conservancy told the Commissioners in Sacramento: “The most disconcerting part of this project is that a high-energy seismic survey of this size and scope has, to our knowledge, never been done on the California coast. This is a huge project and we anticipate that will have a significant impact on fish populations in and around the proposed study area. We do not believe the FEIR conclusion that the impact on fish will be less than significant. We don’t think that’s supported by science; in fact studies have shown that air-gun surveys interrupt breeding and can significant affect the distribution of some fish species and dramatically depress catch rates of commercial fish well beyond the survey boundaries.”

Mr. Hovey was then asked by Commissioner Alan Gordon: “With PG&E setting up a claims process for losses to the fishermen going forward, does that satisfy your concern? It’s speculative, I believe, as to what the real impacts to the fish are going to be, so if they were going to put money into an escrow account at some point to pay future losses as proved, does that cover the issue with regard to loss of fishing and loss of fishing revenue?”

Replied Mr. Hovey, “I believe it covers the issue with respect to the fishermen but not necessarily with respect to the fish. It was a shortcoming of the FEIR to conclude that the impact would be less than significant on fish and marine life. That why it’s so important that we implement a strict and rigorous  monitoring program to try to determine what exactly the affects of the study will be before during and after….  We recommend remote operated vehicles be down there before during and after, and divers be down there before and after – probably not during, but… we really want to understand the effects that the study will have on the marine environment… better monitoring of the harbor porpoise, low-level aerial monitoring, and passive monitoring of beaches for stranded animals.”

During her SLC public comment in Sacramento, Karen Garrison of the National Resources Defense Council, said that, while understanding the need to assess earthquake risks, NRDC “emphatically can’t support the project as currently configured by PG&E because that proposal would cause significant impacts on marine life and habitat, and some of those impacts can be reduced. Specifically, it would have major impacts on endangered species like Blue Fin and Humpback Whale, California sea otters, in addition to potential adverse impacts on fish, fishermen and marine protected areas.”

Of greatest concern, said Miss Garrison, “are impacts on the small, discrete population of Morro Bay Harbor Porpoise. The final EIR concludes that permanent hearing loss and other injuries would exceed what this porpoise can sustain annually, impacts like abandoning habitat at the height of the breeding season could be even more harmful. Harbor Porpoises are the marine mammal that’s most vulnerable to the impacts of man-made sound, and the core range of the Morro Bay population is almost entirely encompassed by this study area… This (project) would produce population-level impacts on porpoises and many other adverse impacts on the marine environment in return for just a moderate chance of gathering useful data, and that’s according to the FEIR.”

Miss Garrison suggested “phasing the study over two years, mid November to mid December, to limit the survey duration to the period of lowest impact on marine life. Restricting the survey from mid November to mid December avoids the larval peak periods for most commercial fish, though it doesn’t mitigate direct impacts. This time period would also shift impacts away from peak breeding seasons and the critical first few months of nursing for the Harbor Porpoises, and it’s a period of low density of endangered whales. It would also allow time between the surveys to assess the impacts on the harbor porpoise population, and it would avoid the Gray Back whale migration, and all but the tail-end of sea otter breeding season. Phasing over two years would allow the project to stay within that window avoiding all the impacts that I just mentioned.”

Said admittedly startled California Department of Fish & Game Commissioner Richard B. Rogers before PG&E staff at the August 9 Fish & Game meeting in Ventura: “My concerns relate to this project far beyond just the MLPA. If anyone in the state of California is proposing a project, whether it’s in a protected area of not, that threatens to virtually eliminate life as we know it within that area, and you must remember that the decibel levels of these air guns is roughly – since we’re talking about Fukushima, as the nuclear safety part of it —  as I understand it, the decibel level of each one of these air guns is roughly equivalent to Hiroshima’s nuclear blast, and I don’t think I’m wrong about that. I doubt very seriously if there’s going to be very much alive underneath that.

“We obviously need to know what’s there,” Mr. Rogers said. “Then we need to know what is there after they get done, and then we need to know what are they going to do about that? Because there’s going to be a delta, there’s going to be a net differential.”

No one from PG&E stepped forward to dispute Commissioner Rogers’ assertions.

Meanwhile, up the coast, at the Inn at Morro Bay, after the SLC approved PG&E’s EIR, it was like someone had dropped a bomb in the room.

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EXCERPTS FROM COMMENTS MADE FROM MORRO BAY DURING THE AUGUST 14 STATE LANDS COMMISSION MEETING and FROM THE AUGUST 7 SAN LUIS OBISPO BOARD OF SUPERVISORS MEETING

NOAH SMUKLER, Morro Bay City Councilman: “We live in a very unique and special area here on the Central Coast, one that is known for its natural beauty, a place that people have traveled to from around the world to appreciate, and one that has a strong fishing heritage. We’re making our comments from the city’s side because we see some direct threats to that tradition here in the current proposal. We realize that our economy is directly connected to the health of our ecosystem and environment, and we have been making strong investments in our environments to help make sure that as we transition into the future that we’re able to depend on a healthy ecosystem. An example of this is our recent and well documented transition to sustainable fishing techniques which is not only showing an improvement in the ecosystem but the landings and the value of those landings at our local docks. We’ve also doubled down on our investment in ecotourism and in trying to establish ourselves as a place that takes care of the environments and has a strong concern for the environment… Throughout the report there are a number of ‘significant and unavoidable biological impacts’ that are noted, and it seems those are basically dismissed. We have concerns about those. There really has not been adequate analysis of these biological impacts and also the economic impacts. That’s a concern. And overall we have heard strong negative feedback about the public input process, both from our commercial fishing association as well as just individuals that are out there trying to get information about this mammoth proposal and really coming up short. We’ve also heard that PG&E has not been as accessible as they need to be for the stake holders that this project’s going to affect so that’s something we think needs to be improved. Overall, we have seen what appears to be an undervaluing of our landings and the further economic impacts that potential project could have throughout our economy, not just on fishing but on the hotel, retail, restaurant industries and basically the livelihoods of people that live and depend on Morro Bay’s economy. … The impacts of this project are going to last generations into the future.”

MARK HAMMERDINGER, Morro Bay commercial fisherman since 2007: “I laid out my traps, right in their racetrack, right here straight out from Morro Bay. They’re out there right now catching fish. Other fisheries have started up. The hag fish fishery – a lot of people know them as the slime eels, so there is a lot of money being generated in this town that’s not being accounted for in the EIR. They say it’s on the decline, but I’ve seen it gone up. Squid boats started unloading here, and they’re bringing a lot of people into town, so it’s going. Let’s not kill all the fish. Let’s just plan on the worst-case scenario and shut down that power plant. What are the ramifications of killing the fish? OK, I go extinct, OK. Well, no big deal. OK, I’ll just move on to the next existence, but if you approve this plan, I have pity on your souls because you might be moving on, too.”

JOEY RACANO, California Ocean Outfall Group: “The ocean isn’t what it used to be. That’s why we created the Marine Life Protection Act to makes a series of marine protected areas up and down the coast with the hopes of our state marine reserves, which were the best of the best, having a spillover effect to bring the oceans back to a natural state of health and abundance. One of the things that it looks like this seismic testing would do is destroy the recently anointed Point Buchon State Marine Reserve. That is out of the question. … Why are we talking about an academia boat or an oil company boat doing this destruction to our marine mammals? What we should be talking about is when do we dismantle and remove the power plant…? I would caution everyone against the dangers of having an oil company boat out there looking for oil on the backs of our whales. I don’t think that’s a good idea Mr. Gibson is suggesting… From what I’m hearing at the State Fish & Game Commission level is that the destruction is going to be total, and I have no reason to doubt that.

MARY WEBB, VP of Greenspace, the Cambria lands trust founded in 1988. “This seismic study area includes our newly established marine protected areas Point Buchon, Point Buchon State Marine Conservation area and Reserve, White Rock Cambria Conservation Area and Cambria State Marine Park. It’s explicitly prohibited within Marine State Reserves under the Marine Life Protection Act. They use the word ‘take.’ This means ‘the killing, harming or removing of marine resources. This proposed study describes ‘significant and unavoidable impacts’ and take to whales, fish, dolphins, porpoise, turtles, sea otters, mammals and other protected species and habitats. In fact, there are so many impacts that the list of agencies included the California Coastal Commission that needs to approve this, California Dept of Parks & Recreation, California Dept. of Transportation, the Water Quality Control Board, State Historic Preservation Office, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as the Army Corps., Coast Guard, Fish & Wildlife Service – and that leaves us with the Dept. of Fish and Game. … Hundreds of stakeholders were involved in the Marine Life Protective Act. These areas were designed specifically with certain boundaries and geographical locations to protect certain species from marine reserve to marine reserve, and there’s supposed to be interconnectivity between those reserves, so even if you take Cambria off the map, it still will affect the reserves below it. We are not just concerned about Cambria, we’re concerned about Port St. Louis and Morro Bay and the North Coast. There seem to be too many unknowns to approve a permit at this time.

WILLIAM WALTER, attorney for the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization. “The best representatives of the commercial fishing industry are in fact the fishermen. Unfortunately, they’re out working as they need to do, so many that would want to be here, of the 120 members, can’t be here, but listen to the fishermen that are here because they are the experts, they live it and they know it… PG&E indicated that there would be monitoring and mentioned Cal Poly. That is important. But mitigation only works when it’s required; I don’t see the requirement in the findings for the long-term fishery impacts. PG&E mentioned that mitigation or compensation would be required; I don’t see that. (PG&E’s ‘good faith effort’ compensation declaration) is so ‘waffly’ that it’s an unenforceable condition. We propose before, during and after mitigation of biological resources… Last, socio-economic impacts (of the tests) have impacts on the land. Morro Bay becomes a ghost town. That’s a significant impact upon the environment…

GIONVANNI DeGARIMORE, owner of Giovanni’s Fish Market and STAX Bistro on the Embarcadero in Morro Bay:  “Me and two of my brothers currently operate fish industry businesses here locally and we depend very highly on the commercial catch. I’m very concerned with the EIR. It doesn’t seem to spell out any long-term mitigation for shoreside services or infrastructure and I believe that should be required in this report, and it’s just not. The EIR does not quantify or assess these effects, and doesn’t identify any mitigation or compensation. That doesn’t seem right to me. I heard a lot of slick talking at the beginning of this hearing from people that sounded a lot like politicians, but I’m just going to be real simple. Something stinks here. Looking at the big picture it just doesn’t sound right. The taking – whether you call it catching or killing or whatever you’re doing — of fish, baby sea otters, whales, turtles, fishermen, is not right. You’re going to be killing our community, you’re going to be killing our resources, and it’s not something I support. I’m not anti nuclear but I am anti-killing of our resources and killing of our fishing industry. It’s not right. Let’s not shove it through…. I just learned of this project last year. You’re going to be shooting 300-inch cannons to the tune of 250 decibels – 235 decibels have been shown in naval studies to make jelly out of dolphins’ brains, to cause hemorrhaging in whales. We’re talking about baby sea otters, we’re talking about whales, we’re talking about fishermen, we’re talking about people. Let’s not ram this through. Let’s step back, let’s think about it. Let’s think about what’s good for the people and the environment.”

LORI FRENCH, a past director of the Morro Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Organization and a longtime fisherman’s wife: “Common sense dictates that 250 decibels of sound will destroy anything in the path that the sound waves travel. According to PGE’s paperwork PG&E gets a permit to catch and experiment on 82 sea otters. Really? If we did that we’d go to jail, prison, no questions asked. The same goes with fishermen fishing in an MLPA. PG&E gets to play there, we go to jail. Four families depend on our boat, the partnership between my husband and my brother. In addition, three of our boys are depending on our boat to put themselves through college – I’d hate to see that interrupted. .. We do not feel that PG&E has truly shown an interest in protecting our ocean and our livelihood and that of our infrastructures. If this goes through there needs to be serious compensation for all entities affected, long-term monitoring of our ecosystem. We’re talking not weeks and months but years. We feel that our livelihood will be affected for years. PG&E has been a bully in this case. They really haven’t responded to the commercial fishermen, addressing our concerns about the short, long-term and very, very long-term of our oceans.”

Activist-government watchdog ERIC GREENING offered “a reality check about decibels. 250 just looks like a number. If you’re standing at end of a runway with a jet taking off a few hundred feet over your head, that’s 125 (decibels). 250 is not twice 125 because the decibel scale is logarithmic – every 20 points you go up 10 times an order of magnitude. We’ve been told that there’s somehow a ‘fudge factor’ for sound waves in water, but I’ve never heard anyone give that fudge factor more than 60 points. So at best we’re talking about something a thousand times louder than standing under a jet taking off at 200-300 feet over your head. We’re talking about doing that every few seconds for more than a month to all the creatures that live down there. We better have a damn good reason, and we don’t. We have no reason to believe that any new information that comes from this will be acted on in a truly precautionary way. The new information we’ve had to date has not deterred PG&E from operating the plant and seeking relicensing… Monitoring is simply assuming it’s OK to be the guinea pigs. Where anywhere in this globe is there a study that shows that there is no long-term impact from this kind of seismic testing. This is going to kill sea life, it’s going to deafen the ones that survive; once they’re deaf they will have a hard time finding the ones they need to reproduce with. This will echo through generation after generation after generation, and they’re intelligent, sentient beings out there with brains bigger than ours. For what are we asking them to endure these impacts?”

MANDY DAVIS, Morro Bay naturalist and guide representing the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society: “If you ratify this seismic testing and allow this happen, the CSLC will have to adopt a statement of overriding considerations. What considerations will you be overriding? You will be overriding the health and well being of my community. You will be overriding our right as human beings, as creatures, as stewards of this earth to be able to live in a healthy place, to be able to continue to have the relationships with these creatures whether or not they are economic, whether or not they are recreational, whether or not they are purely intrinsic. You will be overriding that consideration, and you do not have the right to override that. I’ve noticed within this report I keep seeing the same darn words over and over and over again and it just chaps my hide – those words are ‘significant and unavoidable.’ We have heard the significance of the biological data, of the cultural data, of the economic data. Now I want to hear why you think that’s so darn unavoidable. You can avoid it by not doing the project. It is not necessary. It is avoidable.”

CHRIS CUMMINGS, local attorney: “It sounds like to me that we’re prepared to kill marine mammals of our coast to accomplish this project. I particularly concerned about the impact on the harbor porpoise which is a resident species and of high density within the project area. These mammals are considered to have high sensitivity to seismic exploration sound. If the effects on the whales, dolphins, seals, sea lions and especially the harbor porpoises, are as I read them, I oppose this project.”

BRAD CUNNINGHAM, Morro Bay fisherman and business owner. “From a fishing perspective, I’d like to look at this as long-term impact. We’re not looking at this but as an immediate impact. As a fishing community and a city, this could have some devastating, long-term impacts to the fishing community and the people of the state of California. From the socio-economic standpoint this will close my doors. I will be out of my business. I cannot afford to stay in business for two or three months with no activity at my fishing facility, my dock.”

TIFFANY SYKES, Morro Bay fisherman’s wife: “My husband and I have the fishing vessel South Bay, the only local trawler in Morro Bay since 2009. In March 2011 the South Bay underwent a huge financial overhaul an remodeling. In August 2011 we relocated out family from Astoria, Oregon, and started fishing Morro Bay in September under the IFQ Regulations. We came to Morro Bay in an attempt to bring trawl fishing back in a sustainable fashion. In June 2012 Morro Bay was received national recognition for its efforts to preserve its historical fishing industry. Morro Bay commercial fishermen’s organizations and individuals have made considerable investment changes to enhance the fishing industry. Morro Bay is selling more ice, fuel, has increased employment on the docks. There’s new fishing boats in Morro Bay, equipment, totes and forklifts. I believe we have extended the markets in Morro Bay. Morro Bay has a great working waterfront. (PG&E’s) July 2012 EIR doesn’t do Morro Bay justice… In 2011 Morro Bay commercial fisherman generated more than $7 million in earnings, from $4.4 million in 2010, that’s a 69% increase, and I wouldn’t be surprised if 2012 numbers were even better.”

Public comment excerpts from the August 7 San Luis Obispo Board of Supervisors meeting:

CHRIS CUMMINGS, local attorney, told the Board that their focus on mitigation “comes up a little bit short” as does “the lack of media coverage of the injurious effects of the testing. It seems to me that the board should be educating the public on the consequences of the proposed testing versus the consequences of not doing the testing. As a member of the public I just haven’t seen that discussion. I haven’t been aware of it and privy to it; it seems like this has been a fairly short process, and there hasn’t been a lot out there. I read the paper, I get the paper every day, and as a member of the local paper-reading public I just haven’t seen a lot of this discussion.

“It seems to me if that analysis is done, it seems that the negative consequences of doing the proposed testing far outweigh the consequences of not doing the testing….  I appreciate that PG&E does have much information on the seismic dangers of these faults near Diablo – we already know that there are faults there, we already know they are capable of producing major earthquakes. I’m not sure exactly what we need to know and, again, I don’t think that the information that we would find out would outweigh the consequences of doing the proposed seismic testing which, again, from the EIR is that ‘injury or mortality to marine mammals would occur. This impact is significant and unavoidable.’ This should be this board’s focus.”

JANE SWANSON, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace: “Mothers for Peace share the concerns of many people and organizations about the extensive harm that will be inflicted on marine life if these studies are carried out as currently designed…  The availability of one specific research ship seems to play a major role in putting pressure on the State Lands Commission to authorize the seismic studies now. There is adequate time to explore other technologies as the current operating licenses for the two reactors at Diablo Canyon are valid until 2024 and 2025 respectively. … According to both past and current NRC rules, no nuclear plant should be located in such seismically active zones. … It is our responsibility to also take into account the health of ocean life which is essential to the health of the planet as well as to the economic status of the fishing industry on the Central Coast and beyond… Mothers for Peace supports gathering information about the earthquake faults including the Diablo Cove fault, which runs directly under the unit one reactor, and which for an inexplicable reasons does not appear to be included in the scope of these coming seismic tests.”

LINDA SEALY, San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace: “You should keep it in mind that PG&E’s primary interest is in the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, that’s the underlying motivation for all of this…. We’re living in some kind of fool’s paradise here thinking that if we put ships in the ocean to measure where all of the faults are that somehow we can be in control of that, that if we accumulate more knowledge that will give us the control over that seismic vulnerability there – that’s not true: We’ll never have control… The ship that they’re using is owned by the National Science Foundation. The National Science Foundation will make money on this project. They have issued a statement saying that there will be no environmental impacts if these studies are done, and we know that there will be environmental impacts from this study, so it makes me suspicious to hear someone with a vested financial interest making a statement like that – it’s just quite right.”

San Luis Obispo County activist ERIC GREENING: “The emphasis needs to be not the value of the data but not harming marine life. We have enough data already to put a cloud around relicensing. … Harm to marine life should be an absolute last resort. The EIR does have multiple class one biological impacts. When we hear that harm is being minimized, minimized does not mean avoided. That’s assuming that the EIR is looking at everything that needs to be looked at. There will be a lot more harm. We’re hearing from the fishing community that they haven’t even started looking at some of the rockfish and so on…”

DEAN WENDT, Professor, Center for Coastal Marine Sciences at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, on how Cal Poly research can help understand the impacts of the proposed project. “As the State Lands Commission EIR highlights, there are going to be significant short-term impacts to marine life. A variety of species have been shown to respond to sound impulses, and seismic sampling and studies have demonstrated that fish are sensitive to range of sound produced by the air guns, including startle responses, damaged auditory structures, and fish can hear these sound impulses many kilometers from the sound source. We know that larvae and embryos are sensitive and for many species they can suffer injury and increase mortality. … The EIR correctly reports that there have been few other efforts to examine whether air-gun releases significantly affect catch rates. There’s one study here locally that shows actually the catch rates in a measure of catch-per-unit effort decreases by 50% in the presence of air-gun releases, and another study that shows that cod and haddock fished with trawl and long line decreased by significant percentages as well. The EIR does highlight these findings, but they also conclude that there isn’t a significant impact long-term to fish populations and by extension commercial and recreational fishing industries, and I consider that somewhat problematic. To my knowledge there are no peer-reviewed studies examining the long-term impacts to these populations, and what does exists has only been under very short time frame after seismic testing. The reason that we don’t have this information which I think is important is for two reasons: One is we don’t have active base lines. The lack of preexisting base line of data inside an area where seismic testing is occurring and outside of that area, and the second reason is we haven’t had sufficient follow-up after seismic tests using that same protocol how that base line was generated. Those two things are needed in order to understand this kind of long-term impact to the populations. So using that we can actually make the comparison and estimate the long-term ecological impact. This data is collected by the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program. PG&E is very interested in seeing us do the long-term monitoring necessary to understand the long-term impacts… I conclude that there are significant short-term impacts to marine life and to our commercial and recreational fisheries. That said, it’s unlikely that the seismic testing is going to sterilize our ocean; I think though that there is going to be an impact – and we don’t understand that – and so it’s necessary for us to really quantify that realized impact. That’s really unknown. How do those short-term impacts translate into long-term impacts into the population and our fishing communities; that is, are we looking at a 5% decrease or a 20% decrease or a 50% decrease in catch rates? That’s what we really don’t understand… What happens a year later, two years later? If there is damage to the larvae, juveniles, or adults decide they want to leave. (There are) a number of different issues that could sum to some kind of long-term impact. Studies looking at those kinds of long-term impacts have not been done and they’re very hard to do because you have to have that robust base line. If you’re going to go forward with this then you might as well collect the data that allow you to speak about the real impacts of the project. … In the EIR they concluded, that there are less than significant long-term impacts, but they concluded that primarily — they’ll probably argue with me but – because there really aren’t any data addressing those longer term impacts, so how do you compensate for something you don’t understand or know? … There are multiple impacts to these populations. And if there’s an impact that causing 10% decrease, and if you’re not looking for that impact, it can be there and the fisheries still functioning, but perhaps it’s functioning at a lower level than it could. I don’t think there’s going to be complete destruction of our ocean, but there could be very real long term impacts that we just don’t understand at this point.”

TOM HAFER, a Morro Bay commercial fisherman since 1973, and a director of the Morro Bay Commercial Fisherman’s Organization: “Our stance on this is we don’t want this test to happen. What PG&E has planned, with all the pounding going on on the beach, in the ocean, all these arrays of antenna behind the boat, it’s going to be a big problem for the fishing community. We’re going to be displaced from our areas where we fish. The sound travels 20-30 miles at 248 decibels — it’s equal to a Nagasaki, Hiroshima atomic bomb explosion at the bottom. That’s going to kill stuff. That’s going to be a big problem, and being displaced from the fishing areas we fish – we just can’t move. A lot of us fish traps, we fish hook and line, there’s certain areas where there’s fish, there’s certain areas where there’s not fish. That time of the year it’s the best fishing weather. You were asking about seasons. Right then, starting in November is dungeness crab season. It’s spot prawn season then, the best spot pawn season right then. The ocean is flat, that’s our best time of year. There’s just so much that we’re going to have to change to conform with PG&E. We’re going to have to change our whole routine. I’m not going to be able to fish where I fish, Bill won’t be able to fish where he fishes, John won’t even be able to fish where he fishes for hag fish because they’re right there. That’s where those guys are fishing, so they’re just going to have to move somewhere else, but who knows if there’s going to be any slime eels there or not? PG&E says that they’ve been talking to us, and they have a little bit, not a lot. I think we should have more meetings by now. It’s October 1 they want to start. There was $1.2 million talked about at an Avila meeting which the Morro Bay Commercial Fishing Organization was not invited. We kind of crashed the meeting because we knew that PG&E was coming. We’ve done everything they’ve asked us to do. We’ve got all our information, how much we catch in those months when they’re going to be here, we’ve sent it to them. So we’ve done all our part of this thing, so now it their turn to tell us what they’re going to do and how they’re going to make this thing right because this is going to kill Morro Bay and Avila. PG&E is not stepping up to the plate.”

WILLIAM WALTER, attorney representing the Morro Bay Commercial Fisherman’s Association, at the Board of Supervisors: “Most of the members are out fishing so they couldn’t be here; you’d be hearing from a lot more of them. … (Mitigation monitoring) dealing with the biological resources, which of course are foremost because if those are irreparably injured there’s not going to be there economics, obviously, if there’s no fish and it’s damaged. That’s going to be very, very severe. One can imagine someday in the not far distant future where there can be closures of this area when we learn that the impacts where much greater than were anticipated. … There have to be conditions that are imposed, and so far I don’t see, looking at the State Lands recommendations long-term monitoring, base-line studies, or any compensation socio-economically. This things heading off a cliff here quickly by next week… This things has been on a fast train that really needs to be slowed down, and you’ve heard the preference for no project, but I think the critical points made in the draft letter that the impacts be understood, that they be mitigated to the maximum degree possible – State Lands may not do that – State Lands is saying that economic impacts don’t have to be mitigated thus far, we don’t know how the conditions will come, but I see the opportunity closing quickly to have enforceable conditions.”

BILL BLUE, a fisherman in Morro Bay since 1974: “I’m a commercial fisherman, I fish several fisheries. I have two boats. Both of my sons fish out of Morro Bay as well. One of the main seasons that the tests are going to impact is the dungenous crab season, which is a seasonal fishery as opposed to the other fisheries that take place year round. Back in April we had written a letter, both to PG&E and Dr. Wendt, trying to get them to assess the dungeoness crab fishery. It’s a cyclic fishery, it’s on the upscale. We were seeing very good quantities of two or three years of crabs for future seasons, that we try to have them come on the boat or make some effort to assess what was happening at that fishery at that time back in April. It was never discussed, I never had a response from Mr. Schultz in the letter that I wrote to him. I did have a response from Dean Wendt that it was a difficult thing to undertake, but we reached out to them to try to facilitate that fishery. As far as us picking up and moving, as Mr. Hafer said, it’s very difficult for a trap operation to move out of an area and we were fishing right in the southern area of ‘the racetrack,’ as they refer to it. Other fisheries are going to be jeopardized that can’t move – some of the disabled’s fisheries; a lot of the fishermen who participate in that have quota, and the quota has to be caught between certain guidelines of geographic area, so for them to move out of the area is impossible. That fish has to be caught in that particular region, so those type of things need to be considered in the mitigation plan if there is to be one. Our wish is that the survey doesn’t happen. They built it on a fault to begin with. Why not just make the plant safe to the greatest magnitude of earthquake that could happen – you create jobs in the community, the plant would be safe, and you’d save the ocean environment as well.”

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  1. PeggyDirsa says:

    This needs to be stopped!  Every newspaper and radio needs to report this and people need to stop this from happening!!

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