Santa Monica News
Commission Rejects PG&E Quake Tests
By Ivetta Babadjanian
Nov 14, 2012 - 6:35:33 PM

SANTA MONICA—The California Coastal Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday, November 14 in order to reject a plan to map offshore earthquake faults by blasting loud air cannons near a nuclear plant.

Pacific Gas & Electric Co. owns the Diablo Canyon nuclear plan and claimed the testing is vital as it can help create 3D maps of the fault lines along the sea floor. Although it is state law that says extensive testing of California fault lines are required, PG&E states this form of testing is needed due to the 9.0 earthquake that shook Japan last year.

PG&E had wanted a Coastal Commission permit to begin the seismic surveys of 130 square miles of ocean. A 235-foot vessel was to tow a 1/4 mile-wide array of submerged, 250-decibel air cannons that would discharge every 15 seconds, both night and day, for 17 days.

However, the commission's 10-0 vote in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium was partially due to the environmental effects that would take place due to the sonic blasts. The tests would potentially have deadly results for marine mammals, including whales, sea otters and 2,000 harbor porpoises that may have been forced out of their foraging grounds in Morro Bay.

"These tests are not going to do us any good in terms of protecting the public welfare and the environmental impacts of this project were understated," commissioner Jana Zimmer said during the meeting. Environmentalists and commercial fisherman joined the meeting, many of which held signs that said "Make Love, Not Noise" and "Seismic Matters."

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