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Published: September 20, 2012

NCTC statement of concerns against PG&E seismic offshore testing along the SLO County coastline


The Northern Chumash Tribal Council (NCTC) is a tribal governing body whose members are from San Luis Obispo County and they have been the living continuum of Chumash Peoples for over 18,000 years. Living along this sacred coastline in San Luis Obispo County, we are Stakeholders. NCTC was formed under the guidelines of Senate Bill 18 as a State Recognized Tribal Government. NCTC corporate office is located at 67 South Street San Luis Obispo, CA 93401. NCTC is dedicated to the preservation of Chumash Culture and Heritage, meaningful consulting with local governments, consulting with the development community, and changing government policy for better tribal community well-being.


AB 1632 requires that as part of PG&E’s electricity and natural gas forecasting and assessment activities, to compile and assess EXISTING scientific studies, as specified, to determine the potential vulnerability, to a major disruption due to aging or a major seismic event, of large base load generation facilities of 1,700 megawatts or greater, including a specified analysis of the impact of a major disruption on system reliability, public safety, and the economy.  AB 1632 does not require NEW studies.  There are low level seismic studies and the onshore seismic studies data that is more than enough to show the connectivity of the faults under the power plant.  The proposed seismic studies are not necessary.

Every environmental impact report and environmental impact statement has concluded the environmental devastation would be long-lasting and far reaching. The Environmental Assessment for the Diablo Canyon Seismic project admits “take” or “harassment” will potential cause the death, or torment by permanent deafness, which to a whale, means a slow, lingering death of the partial following mammals list:

  • Minke whale
  • Sperm whales
  • Dwarf sperm whales
  • Blue whales
  • Humpback whales
  • Fin whales
  • California gray whales
  • Short-finned pilot whale
  • Bird’s beak
  • Killer whales
  • Striped dolphins
  • Small beaked whales
  • Dell’s porpoise
  • Long-beaked dolphins
  • Rise’s dolphins
  • Northern right whale dolphins
  • Pacific white-sided dolphins
  • Bottle-nose dolphins
  • Short-beaked dolphins
  • Harbor seals
  • California sea lions
  • Southern sea otters
  • Untold sea turtles of several varieties
  • Numerous fish and bird species
  • The next generation sea life including nearly billions of larva’s of all types

NCTC advocates that the seismic testing be stopped to allow time to thoroughly explore other technologies not harmful to marine life.  There is no date collection for science that is worth the possible destruction of the warp and weave of the basket of life.


Off shore unregistered Chumash Sacred Sites must be treated the same way as on shore Chumash Sacred Sites are treated.  No one would let anyone harm the animals that live on or near Chumash Sacred Sites on land, why would anyone allow this to happen off shore.  Before any activity that might impact a Chumash Sacred Site mapping and surveying must be done to understand how the proposed activities might affect the Chumash Cultural Resources.   All Chumash Sacred Sites must be surveyed and mapped before any project is approved in this sensitive area.


On and after August 11, 1978, it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.

The off shore unregistered Chumash Sacred Sites all have great significance for our Chumash Nation, the possibility of having our ancient sites disturbed by seismic blasting would affect the religious significance of the Sacred Sites along our coastline.

The Chumash creation story “The Rainbow Bridge” story talks of how the Dolphins became our ancestors, this is part of which we are, it is a part of our creation story, and it is a magical story for our children growing up receiving great joy from the magic of life.

The potential killing of Dolphins and Whale along with other sea life is not acceptable; any harm would be a violation of the Native American Freedom of Religion Act as these animals are a part of our creation story and our ancestors.


Article 19

States shall consult and cooperate in good faith with the indigenous peoples concerned through their own representative institutions in order obtain their free, prior and informed consent before adopting and implementing legislative or administrative measures that may affect them.

The Northern Chumash Tribal Council does not give consent to cause irreparable harm to the sea life along the San Luis Obispo county coastline. International Treaties are in play because many of the mammals that pass through our coastal water are protected by other international treaties, the entire UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples is in full effect by reference.


Section 30230 Marine resources; maintenance Marine resources shall be maintained, enhanced, and where feasible, restored. Special protection shall be given to areas and species of special biological or economic significance. Uses of the marine environment shall be carried out in a manner that will sustain the biological productivity of coastal waters and that will maintain healthy populations of all species of marine organisms adequate for long-term commercial, recreational, scientific, and educational purposes.

The potential harm to any sea life would be a violation of the California Coastal Act.

The location of the survey area sits between two National Marine Sanctuaries and has itself qualified for National Marine Sanctuary Designation since 1990. The sonic blasts will be too intense at 250 decibels for marine life to remain viable. The entire marine web-of-life will be destroyed.

Sanctuaries provide enhanced safeguards for species within their boundaries, a protection that is lost when they leave. Other protected areas along or at the terminus of a migration route or that cover areas for important life stages of living marine resources (e.g., nesting areas for seabirds, pupping areas for seals, fish spawning aggregation sites, larval dispersal and sink sites), provide the same kind of enhanced protection. Forming relationships and developing joint projects among countries with areas of biophysical connectivity will increase the protection to these often endangered and otherwise vulnerable species.

These resources are extremely important for our coastal communities to grow into the future, we are protecting them, please assist us in not destroying our priceless resources.


The coastal communities are not prepared for this ocean disaster that will end commercial fishing for an unknown length of time.  The Morro Bay and San Luis Harbor fishermen have worked for decades to create sustainable locally “branded” fishing. They now stand to lose their livelihoods.  There is no mitigation for returning the fish and their web-of-life.  All things are tied together and the effects of seismic testing along the coast are not in the best interest of the people who live here and who have lived here for over 18,000 years.


  1. To protect the natural diversity and abundance of marine life, and the structure, function, and integrity of marine ecosystems.
  2. To help sustain, conserve, and protect marine life populations, including those of economic value, and rebuild those that are depleted.
  3. To improve recreational, educational, and study opportunities provided by marine ecosystems that are subject to minimal human disturbance, and to manage these uses in a manner consistent with protecting biodiversity.
  4. To protect marine natural heritage, including protection of representative and unique marine life habitats in California waters for their intrinsic value.

The destruction of our MPA’s after we have spent so many years working to protect them and now when they are working with the other environmental programs in place to bring back our local fisheries it is not the time to destroy them but it is the time to protect them for the future generations.  We the Native Community understand that it is vitally important to make decision that look out into the future 7 generations, only then are you truly making sound decisions.  There is no sound decision making in this project, it is completely out of balance with all the elements of life.  This project must be looked at as a whole not as just the data that will be collected, that is a very small part, the bigger picture is the environment, to get a small percentage of data at the sacrifice of a potential large sacrifice of sea life is not acceptable.

The Northern Chumash Tribal Council stands to protect our Sacred Land and our Culture, please assist us in our stand for dignity and peace with the Sacred Heritage of our land as we attempt to protect our culture for future generations to come.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment.

Elders Council

Northern Chumash Tribal Council

Northern Chumash Tribal Council: 
Chumash Heritage National Marine Sanctuary: 
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