PG&E’s Seismic Testing: The Fix Was In



By David Gurney

On Monday, August 20, 2012, at a special meeting of the California State Lands Commission, Ed Oberweiser attempted to read the following letter to the three members of the commission present: Alan Gordon, Pedro Reyes and Gavin Newsom:

Ed’s comments link:  Comments to the CA State Lands Commission

According to the printed agenda for the meeting, three minutes was allotted to each speaker.  But before Ed could finish, at approximately two minutes, the acting chair of the meeting Alan Gordon, cut Ed short – to inform him that since the decision to go ahead with the testing had already been made, and since the commission had already heard similar objections from the citizenry, he must please limit his remarks to science-based comments on P.G.&E.’s Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

This came as a shock to Ed, who had made the three-and-a-half hour drive from Fort Bragg to Sacramento to read his three-minute comment.  Why was he wasting his time, if the decision had already been made?

By the end of the meeting, all three of the acting commissioners, including Gordon himself, recanted the obvious gaffe, claiming that no decisions had been made prior to the meeting, or they would not be having the special hearing for public comment in the first place.

During this farce, about forty people expressed (from a remote electronic stream) their outrage and concern over plans to blast 250 dB explosions underwater, in an operation that will maim, kill, or drive off virtually every living thing, in a large tract of ocean off Morro Bay California, directly in front of the ominous Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

At the hearing, Ken Wiseman, the Executive Director for the totally corrupted Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) “Initiative” sat in the back row, and said nothing.  After it was over, he went to the front of the room and congratulated Alan Gordon on his running of the meeting.

Wiseman has conflicts of interest of criminal proportions, between his current role as Executive Director of the MLPAI, and board member of California’s Ocean Science Trust, and his former role as chief of the Board of Governors for CAISO - the very same corporation that operates California’s entire electrical energy grid.  He obviously has clear ties to P.G.&E.  His resounding silence at the meeting over PG&E’s proposal, spoke volumes about his real commitment to marine protection.

Gavin Newsom got up several times to leave the room during public testimony, finally exiting altogether, well before the vote to approve was taken.  His chief aid Chris Garland sat in Newsom’s chair during the vote, to deliver what was an ostensible abstention for the slippery Newsom.




                 Newsom, Gordon and Reyes

It is plain that the decision had already been made in advance to approve PG&E’s seismic testing plan, and that the show of listening to the public at the Aug. 20 hearing was a thinly veiled sham.  Not a single legitimate member of the State Lands Commission was present when the vote was actually taken.  ALL were mysterious substitutions.

The seismic testing will kill great blue whales, humpbacks, gray whales and others, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions, otters, sea birds and fishes.  P.G.&E. has offered a crass buy-off plan to commercial fishermen in the area, to compensate for anticipated losses if the plan is allowed to continue.

P.G.&E.’s seismic testing plan involves shooting powerful explosions from underwater cannons, sending shock-waves deep into the earth’s crust, to obtain 3-D images of the the myriad of earthquake faults directly offshore from the doomed Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.

The proposal will destroy virtually all marine life within a so-called “no-take zone” in the Point Bushon State Marine Reserve, created by a corrupted Marine Life Protection Act “Initiative.”  During the coercive implementation of the MLPA, which was rife with conflict of interest and corruption, many objected that crooked scientists and power brokers were failing to protect marine reserves from exactly the type of destructive activity (“take”) that is now being proposed by PG&E, and tacitly approved by the silent presence of the MLPAI’s executive director Ken Wiseman.

Environmentalists, fishermen, local residents and tribal members delivered unanimous and impassioned opposition to the plan.

A Chumash Tribal member recounted how Diablo Canyon got its name.  “The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant sits on my family’s land.” he said  “Many years ago when the the missionaries came to take my family members back to their mission, there was a great earthquake, and some huge waves came in and drove the missionaries back.  They named the place Diablo Canyon.”


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