Diablo Canyon Power Plant

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Diablo Canyon Power Plant

New Marine Preserve for Central Coast?

Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary Would Be Archaeologically Minded, Restrict Energy Industry

Monday, December 2, 2013
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As the opposition to an extended life for the Diablo Canyon nuclear power facility continues to reverberate around San Luis Obispo County and beyond, the uproar is also prompting a more forward-looking plan from the Northern Chumash Tribal Council, which is leading the charge for a brand new national marine sanctuary off of the Central Coast. Connecting the gap between the already protected waters of Monterey Bay and the Channel Islands, the proposed Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary would preserve the many ancient coastal villages and sacred sites that now sit underwater (due to sea waters having risen by 300 feet over the past 10,000 years) by stopping future offshore drilling, fracking, acoustic, and/or seismic testing. If successful, it would be the first archaeology-minded national preserve in the United States, which is currently home to 14 such sanctuaries from Hawaii to the East Coast.

“We want to stop oil drilling and seismic testing because of Diablo Canyon, and we want to save our sacred sites that are submerged in the ocean,” said tribal councilmember Fred Collins, who has enlisted the support of Sierra Club chapters and others in the campaign. “We want to create ‘thrivability,’” said Collins. “We don’t use the word sustainability because that’s the slow death of mother earth. Thrivability is where we want to go.” That also includes working with commercial and recreational fishermen, said Collins, who wants to enhance what they do, not regulate it.

The timing of the push is strategic, as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is in the process of finalizing the criteria to judge sanctuary nominations, a process that was last undertaken in 1990. “There are many communities across the nation who would like to have national marine sanctuary like the one being talked about off of San Luis Obispo,” said NOAA’s Lisa Wooninck, who received more than 19,000 comments on the proposed criteria over the summer and thinks there may be 10 or more new sanctuaries eventually proposed. The nomination criteria should be finalized by March 2014, which would allow NOAA to start evaluating proposed sanctuaries before deciding which are worthy of designation. And each sanctuary functions a bit differently, said Wooninck, explaining, “The protections focus on what is of national significance at that place.”

So even if the Chumash Heritage NMS meets the initial criteria, it still must compete against marine sites across the country. “We got the momentum going again now — we’ve got a local, national, and international presence going forward,” said Collins, who said this idea first came about during the 1990 nomination process and hopes it will also result in more research, educational opportunities, and even an interactive center down the road. “This is one of the most incredible areas in the world…and this will be the first indigenous marine sanctuary in the United States.”


Independent Discussion Guidelines

Very interesting idea! Have divers visited these villages said to exist under water? There must be a map - how about providing a description of what's there! And how would fishing be "enhance(d)”? Good luck to the proponents!

at_large (anonymous profile)
December 2, 2013 at 7:14 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Really like the word "thrivability". Wish we could all thrive with solar panels on our roofs, and nuclear power stations close.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
December 2, 2013 at 11:20 a.m. (Suggest removal)


This is the Marine Preserve that makes the most sense. It is an area facing a state of emergency, where 2 rare Oarfish, a rare Beaked Whale and 7 Bottlenose Dolphins all washed or beached ashore within an astonishingly small 2-week window this past Aug-September.

We know for sure that 9 companies had permits to conduct 'low' energy (216db!) geophysical seismic surveys, and the permits expired the day of the first beaching. Too great for coincidence in my book. Also happening at this same tome were offshore fracking with no public knowledge, process or regulation, Navy Sonar, commercial and sport fishing, aquarium fish collecting, ship traffic in whale lanes, oil and natural gas exploration, and massive amounts of sewage being dumped by San Diego and Morro Bay-Cayucos, both using 301(h) sewage 'waivers' allowing the discharge to contain extra fecal debris. San Diego is dumping 50 BILLION gallons of the pathogen-laden stuff annually into Cabrillo National Monument off Point Loma!

Even the researchers who 'want to help' are killing otters open and stuffing them with electronic equipment, killing many, as a staging portion of the seismic tests at Diablo Canyon that were never approved!

And don't forget the 17 BILLION gallons a day being sucked into the seawater cooling intakes of coastal power plants, killing all the plankton and at the same time acting as a large predator would offshore, killing seals, otters, fish and simplifying the web of marine life. Also, there is the radiation from Fukushima and probably Diablo Canyon as well.

This Chumash Sanctuary is a perfect way to address the entire witches cauldron of insults to our precious marine ecology, and we support it 100%, so long as it recognizes this state of ocean emergency, and puts a stop to it all immediately.

Joey Racano, Director
Ocean Outfall Group

On Facebook: stop navy sonar testing
stop the diablo canyon seismic testing

spiritpen (anonymous profile)
December 2, 2013 at 1:15 p.m. (Suggest removal)

We respect the Marines for their dedication to this country but we really feel the preserve should be for us sea creatures.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
December 2, 2013 at 8:41 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It would be nice if the Casino Chumash got on board instead of looking to build build build.

Noletaman (anonymous profile)
December 3, 2013 at 5:26 p.m. (Suggest removal)

Chumash Question 'Chumash Sanctuary'

In the height of public awareness of Climate Change (and the retreat of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan) including Well Stimulation also called Fracking creeping across Turtle Island, that is now known as the United States, has many tribes and Indigenous Nations armed to the teeth with state, federal, and international laws to protect our beloved land and waters.

During this time of threat a few people of the Chumash Nation that call themselves Northern Chumash Tribal Council had made arrangements to use the name of “Chumash Heritage National Sanctuary” without including the rest of the bands, clans, and individuals. There was finally a meeting amongst tribal leaders where NOAA had clearly stated that a sanctuary would not stop threats such as Fracking and oil drilling but can make exceptions. This raises a flag for some of the Chumash leaders for the true motivation of a Sanctuary.

Seeing a meeting called SLO Coast National Marine Sanctuary Panel hosted by certain environmental groups where it was plainly stated that the Monterey National Marine Sanctuary did not stop oil drilling, but the rock formation prevented the drilling, and the lack of the tribes being included in the Central California Marine Protected Areas process in the beginning, it has become apparent there is no reason for us to participate in creating a Sanctuary, and it has not come to consensus to use the Chumash name.

We suggest to the ones that are participating in creating a “Chumash Sanctuary” to go back to farming and let the Chumash Fisherman that still hold the traditions keep their eyes on the water. We are patiently awaiting the next Chumash meeting pertaining to the purposed Sanctuary.

No way is anything in this response to the article, “Chumash Marine Sanctuary Sailing for NOAA Nomination – without Fisherman on Board,” intended to disrespect any environmentalist or commercial fisherman, but to clear the air of some misinformation and much gratitude to THE ROCK for letting our side of the story be told.

“The Chumash Peoples have fished, hunted, and gathered upon the ocean for thousands of years. Our interest is purely to take care of the waters that take care of us.”
- See more at:

Lisamu (anonymous profile)
July 20, 2014 at 8:14 p.m. (Suggest removal)

its greenwash

Lisamu (anonymous profile)
July 21, 2014 at 12:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
July 21, 2014 at 1:12 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Its hogwash. What "it" is, I dont know, I don't even know what I'm talking about.

dolphinpod14 (anonymous profile)
July 21, 2014 at 1:28 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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