Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Coastal Commission turns PG&E down flat

David Sneed reports for the Tribune:

SANTA MONICA — No high energy seismic surveys will be conducted off the coast of San Luis Obispo County this year, if ever.
In a resounding success for tens of thousands of activists from across the state, the California Coastal Commission on Wednesday unanimously voted to deny Pacific Gas and Electric Co.’s request to use extremely loud blasts of sound to study a network of earthquake faults surrounding Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
Some 200 environmentalists, fishermen, animal rights activists and Native Americans from across the state packed a wing of the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium on Wednesday. All of them were opposed to the seismic testing, and many wore T-shirts emblazoned with statements such as “Stop Ocean Blasting” and “Seismic Matters.”
It is now up to PG&E to decide how to proceed. PG&E spokesman Blair Jones said the utility will study the commission’s decision and the reasons behind the denial to decide what to do next. PG&E asked the commission to make an up-or-down decision and not spend the matter back for more study.
The commissioners repeatedly said PG&E failed to show sufficient evidence that the benefit of the studies would outweigh the harm they would do to the environment. The utility is spending $64 million on various types of onshore and offshore seismic studies.
Several commissioners said the studies will not do anything to make the plant safer or provide an ability to predict earthquakes. They also said it is unlikely that PG&E could ever be successful in getting a permit, and encouraged PG&E to use the information already available to evaluate the seismic safety of the plant.
“Approving the studies would open the door to this type of activity all along the West Coast,” said Commissioner Steven Kinsey. “It’s not a difficult decision to make today that we do not want to be opening the coast to this kind of activity.”
Commissioner Martha McClure said Diablo Canyon cannot be fixed in terms of the danger it faces from earthquakes and should not be studied to death. She said she wants the plant to be shut down.
“The studies were an attempt to push the can down the road,” she said. “I don’t buy the public safety issue at all. I want to see PG&E turn the corner and spend the $64 million on solar power.”

Read more here:

No comments:

Post a Comment