Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) is planning to conduct seismic testing off the Central Coast in order to map fault zones near Diablo Canyon nuclear plant to predict power plant “safety” during an earthquake. Surfrider questions the overall value of the project especially considering PG&E has failed to review existing onshore and offshore data to determine geologic hazards.
Seismic testing has enormous impacts on ocean ecosystems. Imagine a bomb exploding every 15 seconds, 24 hours a day, for weeks on end! Massive sound blasts can either harm or kill marine life like whales, dolphins, sea otters, turtles and other fragile species. To make matters worse, Gray whales will be migrating through the area in December!
Surfrider is equally concerned about potential impacts to ocean users. PG&E’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR) clearly states seismic testing would expose ocean users to harmful noise levels if present during active testing. Their EIR says: “Studies have shown that high levels of underwater noise can cause dizziness, hearing damage, or other sensitive organ damage to divers and swimmers, as well as indirect injury due to startle responses”. “Noise levels in excess of 154 dB re 1 μPa could be considered potentially harmful to recreational divers and swimmers in the Project area”.
A map recently obtained from PG&E shows that dB levels could reach upward of 160 at some beaches. This is well over the threshold for human safety. In addition to serious impacts on ocean ecosystem and recreational, the project is unnecessary. Decades of data are not being used to analyze fault lines. Several entities including PG&E, USGS, and the oil industry have already conducted seismic testing in the area! A former PG&E geologist and a current USGS geologist both conclude the project will offer marginal data.
Please tell the Coastal Commission to reject this proposal! To learn more about the issue, read a comment letter Surfrider submitted to the Coastal Commission on behalf of the local Chapter.
And click here to take action.