Calif. coastal panel denies permit for offshore earthquake study near nuclear power plant [View all]
Source: Associated Press
Citing harm to marine life, California coastal regulators on Wednesday soundly rejected a utility’s plan to map offshore earthquake faults near a nuclear power plant by blasting loud air cannons.
The unanimous vote by the California Coastal Commission came after an hours-long public hearing attended by environmentalists, fishermen and residents who were overwhelmingly opposed to the seismic testing.
The proposed survey by Pacific Gas & Electric Co. involves firing sonic pulses into the ocean. Sensors on the seafloor would pick up the echoes to create 3-D maps of geologic faults that the utility said are needed to understand the seismic hazards around the Diablo Canyon facility.
The commission’s staff had urged the panel to reject the plan. In a report this month, the staff said sonic blasts would cause “significant and unavoidable impacts to marine resources.” More than 7,000 sea mammals would be disturbed by the ear-piercing noise, including fin whales, blue whales, humpback whales, and harbor porpoises.