Victory for Marine Mammals and Environmentalists in California: Air Blasting Proposal Denied

Written by on November 16, 2012 in Marine Life
Fin whale.

Fin whale. Photo credit: Lori Mazzuca, AFSCK/NOAA.

Environmentalists are celebrating victory in California where the Coastal Commission rejected the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. (PG&E)’s plan to map offshore earthquake faults by blasting air cannons.

PG&E’s survey would involve firing sonic pulses towards the seafloor which would help create a 3-D map of the geologic faults surrounding the local nuclear power plant.

A recent report explained that the sonic blasts would cause “significant and unavoidable impacts to marine resources.”  And, while PG&E acknowledged the short-term damage, they said studies have been done elsewhere with no long-term harm.

After a long public hearing that included fishers, environmentalists, and residents, the commission unanimously voted against the proposal because of the impact it would have on the more than 7,000 sensitive marine mammals along the Central Coast, including fin, blue and humpback whales and harbor porpoises.  They noted that PG&E did not make a strong enough case that the testing was necessary.

Humpback whale breaching.

Humpback whale breaching. Photo credit: NOAA.

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Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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