Seismic testing off Central Coast

This is a guest commentary about this very important issue. And the photos of the whales in Avila Beach, by Maryanne Avila, are used with express permission of the photographer. The commentary is used with permission of the author.

Radiation Nation

by joey racano

In a long ago, far away world, three judges -all of whom would later become infamous for other reasons- sat together on a Washington DC appeals court. That court ignored science, evidence and safety, and made the fateful decision to allow the construction of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant right on top of known, live, active earthquake faults.

For the record, those judges were Antonin Scalia, now a member of the United States Supreme Court and well known right wing ideologue who never met an oil refinery or nuclear power plant he didn’t like; Kenneth Starr, who overlooked nukes on faults but as special prosecutor found enough fault with then President Bill Clinton to prosecute him for the Monica Lewinsky affair, and Judge Robert Bork. Bork rose to infamy when Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Supreme Court. That appointment failed because Bork had protected Nixon by firing the special prosecutor, which the Attorney General resigned rather than do.

Suffice it to say that the Nuclear Power Plant built in Devil’s Canyon started out bad, grew worse, and is now quickly becoming a melodrama.

“What’s all this got to do with whales,” you ask? The answer is, plenty. As the years went by, not only did the hidden and ignored earthquake faults become public knowledge, but new faults were being found on an almost regular basis! The Diablo Cove fault apparently runs directly beneath Unit 1 reactor, the Shoreline Fault runs right out in front of the plant, and the San Simeon, Hosgri and San Gorgonio faults all line up together to form one enormous 250 mile fault line capable of generating an earthquake bigger than Diablo Nuclear Plant can ever be retrofitted to withstand.

Perfect Storm

When the new head of Chernobyl was asked recently his estimate on when people could again populate the area, he was quoted as saying, “About twenty thousand years.” Then, there is the black spectre of Fukushima, whose molten reactor cores now drench the coast of California with radiation. Tuna caught off San Diego have tested positive 14 out of 14 times. Radioactivity from Fukushima has been found concentrated in the kelp of Santa Cruz. In San Onofre, the Nuclear Plant there has been shut indefinitely because of worn out pipes! With this perfect storm, it is no wonder people are backing away from nukes.

But don’t expect Nukes to go gently into that good night, no sir.

Rather than do the obvious, which is shut all nuclear plants forever and start figuring out what to do with waste (accumulating at 500 pounds a day at Diablo alone) and stays deadly for a million years, instead the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is out playing Public Relations Man for Pacific Gas & Electric (see photo of them at Farmers Market booth in San Luis Obispo).

In a misguided attempt to make inroads against Diablo Nuclear Power Plant, environmental groups sought to have seismic testing done offshore, to get a better look at the faults and the threat they pose to public safety. Then Assemblyman now State Senator Sam Blakeslee, a rare republican with an environmental ethic, wrote the bill (AB1730) in 2006 that moved the California Legislature to order seismic tests.

Unfortunately, the extreme destructive nature of such tests are only now becoming clearly understood, and it appears that much sea life -including Great Blue Whales- will be destroyed in the process. These tests involve carpet bombing the sea floor with 260db soundblasts every 13 seconds around the clock for about a month, and may have to be repeated again next year. The tests are scheduled from Nov – December, 2012, just a few short weeks away. This is further problematic because Humpback whales are in Avila and Port San Luis in numbers never before seen. The whales are here feeding on Krill, who are feeding themselves on nutrient-rich upwellings from cold waters below. Some say the whales, who are more intelligent than humans, somehow know of their impending doom.

When a member of the NRC public relations staff asked me if I thought it was really possible, I retorted with, “Well, my dog knows 15 minutes before I get home.”

Tainted Process

Thus far, the seismic project has passed the State Lands Commission, and must still clear the California Coastal Commission, and the Fish and Game Commission. But when the State Lands Commission voted, it was a vote not by the Commissioners themselves that moved the project ahead, but rather, the vote was taken only after they were all replaced temporarily with alternates, making for a shady decision that may not stand. Indeed, the press is now carrying the story of a man who drove from Redding to Sacramento to speak, only to be shut down when he questioned the validity of such a switcheroo. The Commission was forced to publicly apologize for muzzling the man, who was invited back up to finish his speech, which he did- but the damage was done.

Protected Areas

Finally, when this gets to the Fish and Game Commission, the question before them will be, how to put a price on a whale? An entire species of Harbor Porpoise? Otters? Fish? Lost economy? And how to put a dollar value on the loss of 9 years of hard work and science, having created the new series of Marine Protected Areas designated off our coast, including the Point Buchon State Marine Reserve, which is expected to be cleansed of all living things -including whales- by the sonic blasting?

Better to just remove the Power Plant.

Remember- seismic testing puts us all in danger, by allowing Pacific Gas and Electric to delay removal of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which sits atop an earthquake fault.

Joey Racano

Joey Racano: ‘Weapon of mass discussion’




14 thoughts on “Seismic testing off Central Coast

  1. Excellent piece. I hope people are gradually waking up to the fact that if we do nothing, our way of life and Big Sur itself (as well as other coherent human communities all over Planet Earth will be gone, eaten by for and of the Unnatural Predators who wish to dominate and consume the Earth. One of the principles of the Big Sur Nation constitutional philosophy is Wu Wei, or the Action of Non-Action, which is a way and methodology to preserve the beauty and harmony that remains in our lives while still objecting to and acting against, for lack of a better word, “the forces of suppression”, which action involves intelligent informed understanding, action, compassion and detachment. By acting thus, winning or losing are not important per se. What is important is the pure wind of action for the benefit of the Absolute. Much as I respect those who say, “let it be; just think positive and all will be well”, I think that approach is just suicidal crap, an incomplete understanding like the new Advaita-Elitist people are not as enlightened as they think and I will elaborate upon that concept in this (Rarely, as I will try to spare my beloved Kate excessive aggro) and other forums that I am active in, hopefully in a non linear way which will require the reader to make some effort to assemble the pieces so that they may have coherence and utility. My main vehicle at present is my esoteric school, The Way of the Compassionate Warrior : Our slogan: “We don’t know if it works, but it’s free and it always will be and if you don’t like it, you get triple your money back,” Honestly, how can you beat a guarantee like that ? I also of course spend a great deal of time and energy insulting the various world leaders, politicians, despots, criminal corporate leaders and other frontal lobe free folk who think human dignity, education, freedom from war and corruption, environmental sanity, medical insurance. climate change and women’s rights to control their own bodies are socialist plots that than can only be rectified by Mittbot the Weathervane, Boy Wonder Ryan and their prospective Secretary of the American Vagina (to replace Health & Human Services), Todd Akin.The next message in this series will appear soon in a post entitled: Reflections from the Ambassador, a new series on Sterling Doughty’s FB site or elsewhere, like the archaic, or perhaps not anywhere at at all which is an extremely interesting subject for students, assuming there might be any, to contemplate.

  2. By the way Kate, there is a special non-toxic epoxy resin that you can use to paint over any of the Ambassador’s political statements and then use it as a fireproof wall or roof shingle which will last for generations. Let me know if you want to purchase any, (All profits for Big Sur Kate shingles made from Sterling Doughty rants go to the Pacific Valley School) Please note that other government and private entities who read these posts and are interested in applying the suggestions therein contained to the survival of their own communities are encouraged to do so. Any questions should be sent to : The Big Sur Nation Ambassador to the Helvetian Confederation : Hoka Hey

  3. As an involved employee of Pacific Valley School I’ll look forward to all that $ coming in from the sale of the non-toxic epoxy resin!

    BTW: love the rant for all it’s useful information


  4. As a lover of Big Sur and the Central Coast and of the natural world in general, I appreciate the information on the seismic process and its ramifications. There’s lots to monitor!

  5. You know there are many courses of action at all levels, especially locally. – and please note I am not advocating any sort of violence: The US with 4% of the planet’s population and over 40% of the world’s spending on arms and wars takes care of that with our tax dollars and funds from the Chinese purchase of treasury bonds. You learn about something you think is harmful to the Harmonious Evolution of the Creation, find out the facts and devise a way to make your enlightened views known. Mostly we ordinary people will find it very hard to actually prevail against the forces of money and power and ego – those my teacher, Mr Gurdjieff called Hassnamuss – evil power-possessing beings (see definition here: So , look around, and remember not to get too attached to the results, one way or the other. The danger is becoming The Bystander. “There’s nothing I can do” mentality or “all is perfect” as in the Fake Advaita nonsense that is currently popular. I always find this to be an excellent “reminding factor” concerning the necessity and value of the action of non-action: ”

    First they came for the socialists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a socialist.

    Then they came for the trade unionists,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.

    Then they came for the Jews,
    and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a Jew.

    Then they came for me,
    and there was no one left to speak for me.

    Martin Niemöller

  6. As for the money for the Pacific Valley School, I don’t know how much you will get from my fireproofed rants, but you will get something from another of my enterprises. Two years ago I started a little business selling T shirts and mugs etc, under the Big Sur Nation ™ and Big Sur – Another World ™ brands in local stores. It wasn’t a great success, but my partner, Lois DeFord and I made a few bucks and are now winding down the business. We had planned, if it had done well, to donate 15% of profits to local socialist entities like Captain Cooper and Pacific Valley school , the Health Clinic, the Fire Brigade and the Big Sur Library. We didn’t achieve our goal, but there will be some profit remaining after we close down and I am going to split my share between the two local schools. I know the idea of educated children flies in the face of the Neo Reptilican theory, but somehow it appeals to my warped sense of humanity. Anyway, PVS will get a small amount of cash and there are still a few products in stores in the central Big Sur Valley for any who might have interest.

  7. All that waste, lasting all those years…..sounds like IraQ and Afghanistan should be powdered with it.

  8. While I really enjoyed mr. Doughty’s comments here for my 5am entertainment- and I’m not being entirely sarcastic- I think we may have gotten off the topic. i guess I was never educated on ‘normal’ whale behavior and while I don’t question at all that seismic testing on the scale described will affect them I can’t tell what is happening in the photos or a way to view them larger. Does your source have them posted elsewhere? Does she have anything to say about them?
    I’m really glad to read this stuff even so because I guess I never learned the full story on the Diablo Canyon power plant.. Funny- it’s our need for “power” that fuels all this. The only thing that could really make them shut it down would be if half of California suddenly learned how to build their own solar and wind power and said screw you to the energy companies, but then I guess they’d find a way to sell it on another market anyhow. And I’m reminded again of how connected we all are, from my tiny little disturbed corner of Huerfano County, CO, to my overly idealized only true home of Big Sur, CA… We all face the same issues in the end. We may think that we are different, unique, too good to be true, and therefore in more danger of being brought down/ destroyed by those probably very real ‘unnatural predators’ mr. sterling mentions [What else explains the state of the human race at present? After all, I’ve met people who waited tables at our very favorite Californian fun-fest, the Bohemian grove slin-dig. Gotta say, he didn’t waste time talking about it, either. Pretty much, yep- I was there. that’s it.], but the truth is that everywhere is special and everywhere there are truly intelligent people with creative minds waiting to take over the world in their own way. All we can do is get through each day in an honest way, being true to ourselves and hopefully representing our strongest beliefs in as creative a way as possible to others. Which is why I did enjoy Mr. Doughty’s comments. Words are as creative a forum as any. And which is also why so much of the activist movement these days involves putting on performances, utilizing theater and other stage-related performance structures to get people’s attention. Theater, especially good theater, begs an audience, and put on right it is a totally unintimidating form of speech that engages people in the discussion, refuses to leave them on the outside looking in, by making them think about how they feel. Our movie-oriented culture has done that much for us, at least- put our society in a position to engage with visual stimuli from an organic standpoint, a place of natural feeling. Some people need more shaking up than others; that’s why it takes a practiced artist to gauge his audience. But what it all comes down to is our daily interactions. And on that note I will end my treatise:) Not sure what hit me.

  9. For those who would like to see more about our fight to Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing we would love to have you visit our facebook page..Stop the Diablo Canyon Seismic Testing . We are facing a ticking clock and our time is getting short.. We can use all the help we can get. On our page you will find all kinds of information..Petitions, addresses to write letters of protest to, EIR reports from the Coastal Commission and PG&E..Lists of animals they are allowed to Take.. Photos, news articals..Come and take a look… There you will find me also..Maryann Avila Just click my name and friend request me..That will also let you view photos in a larger format. We need help..We have several Org’s helping such as the Sea Shepherd Society, Ocean Defender, Oceana, The Surf Rider Foundation of San Luis Obispo and hopefully soon National.. but..we Only have 2 weeks till the Fish and Game Meeting Sept 24th in Sacramento Calif and a little over 3 weeks till the California Coastal Commission (October 10-12th) has their meeting in Southern California..Located far enough away that most of us will not be able to attend to place public comment into record.. I feel it was planned that way..along with the other meetings they have had..Little or no..information about public comments mentioned or dates when those meetings will take place..However..we will have people at these meetings and they will hand deliver any letters we receive..On our page you can also find several address to send those letters too and an address for hand delivered letters also. We also have links for any information you would like to read..The best one in my opinion is the EIR report. There it will read like a horror story for our coast..This is just the start for our coast..In my opinion they are looking for shore Oil..This test will do nothing to protect us from an earthquake and a old Nuke plant..All it will locate Oil and kill our Marine life on our coast..So much for the Marine Mammal Protection Act… Thank You Kate..for doing all you can..Looks like however we will be needing to take further action..Legal action..We will need a good lawyer, Im sure..One who willing to help for the cause as we really are just a small group of people trying to stop this Insanity..Any Lawyers out there who want to join our fight..We sure could use some help..Hugs and Thanks again Kate..<3 U Maryann Avila

  10. I’d be willing to help, if another lawyer more versed in these kinds of issues is lead counsel. My ENTIRE 30 year legal career has been representing the poor in criminal cases. Civil cases are a whole different ball game, but I do have lots of legal research experience, albeit all criminal. So you can give my name and offer to help if you get a lead attorney.

    bigsurkate, on a mountain top in Big Sur

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