State Lands Commission Public Hearings Charade

The California State Lands Commission met at the Sheraton Grand Hotel in Sacramento,  August 20, 2012

By David Gurney

On Aug. 20th the California State Lands Commission held a special meeting to hear additional testimony and public comment, regarding a plan by Pacific Gas and Electric to conduct “seismic testing” in the Pacific ocean off its Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. P.G.&E. representatives, public officials, energy watchdogs and the general public were to be heard before a decision was made, whether or not to approve a proposal which uses an array of eighteen 250dB underwater cannons to create 3-D maps of sub-surface geology.  The lethal blasts will kill and maim all living creatures in a many square-mile swath of ocean off Morro Bay, California.

When Ed Oberweiser got up to deliver his carefully written 3-minute comment, he was rudely interrupted by the acting chair of the Commission, Alan Gordon.  None of the current members of the SLC were present for the vote at this meeting: all were substitutes, including Gordon, who impatiently informed the assembly that the decision had already been made.  He directed Oberweiser on what his public comment should address.

Ed Oberweiser has written the following letter to the State Lands Commission, regarding the August 20th meeting:


Dear Kim,

I was very puzzled by the Monday August 20 meeting to deal with Calendar item 104. I don’t understand who is actually on the committee with voting status on issues that come before the committee.

I noticed that Gavin Newsom, John Chiang or Ana Matosantos did not vote on issuing a permit to PG&E for the seismic testing around Diablo Canyon. I was told when I was giving comment by deputy controller Gordon to limit my comment on the EIR not the issuance of the permit. He said the permit would go forward. I found this very puzzling as did the 40 citizens in Morro Bay who understood they were giving comment on PG&E’s permit application to conduct seismic testing.

When we arrived at the meeting we were given notices about the meeting, the paper on item 104 said “Consider certification of a final environmental Impact Report and issuance of a permit to Pacific Gas and Electric Company for purpose of conducting a 3D geophysical survey employing the use of air guns and hydrophones off the coast of San Luis Obispo.

So I felt that I had driven 338 miles round trip to give comment on a very important issue for nothing. The gas bill for this trip was more than $50.00. Please explain to me why this issue wasn’t important enough for all the main commissioners to be there and vote on.

I also noticed that the commission members did not listen attentively or at all to much of the public comment. They were constantly leaving the room to go do other things or talk with other people.

Their performance was simply unacceptable. This is supposed to be a Democracy where the citizens are listened to and represented by the government. That certainly wasn’t the case during Monday’s Commission meeting. PG&E was well represented but we the people certainly were not.

Ed Oberweiser
Fort Bragg, CA


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