Coastal panel rejects quake study near nuke plant

Associated Press
Environmentalist Jim Brown, right, uses a bear's inability to speak to exemplify "animals rights," as he addresses the California Coastal Commission meeting in Santa Monica, Calif. Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2012. The California Coastal Commission is weighing whether to grant a permit to the Pacific Gas & Electric Co. to conduct seismic imaging off the coast of the Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California coastal regulators have rejected a proposal by a utility to map earthquake faults near a nuclear power plant by firing air cannons offshore.

Wednesday's unanimous vote to deny a permit came after an hours-long public hearing attended by environmentalists, fishermen and residents who were overwhelmingly opposed to the seismic testing.

Even the staff of the California Coastal Commission urged the panel to reject the plan. It said more than 7,000 sea mammals including fin whales, blue whales, humpback whales and harbor porpoises would be affected.

Pacific Gas & Electric countered that the study, which would make 3-D maps of quake faults, is needed to understand the seismic hazards near the Diablo Canyon plant.

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