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Santa Maria Sun / Commentary

The following article was posted on October 4th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 30 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 13, Issue 30

Strange bedfellows make for a powerful statement

Disparate groups are uniting on behalf of local waters

BY MANDY DAVIS

It is no less than miraculous what can happen if humans can put aside their differences, get past their egos, and look to the common thread between them. The power of a unified group of individuals is undeniable and a force that can be daunting if focused and successful when implemented.

It is this spirit of unity and recognition of a common goal to work toward that is driving the efforts to end the threat of high intensity seismic testing in the waters off our beautiful and abundant Central Coast. Just recently a mainly local coalition of groups and individuals formed called the C.O.A.S.T. (Citizens Opposing Acoustic Seismic Testing) Alliance. It is an example of one of those occasional “minor miracles” when folks who have in the past have been divisive over marine-oriented issues have recognized the value of putting aside all past differences to fight quite possibly the greatest threat to our oceans to come down the pike.

If you were to walk into one of the Wednesday night meetings in Morro Bay, it would be very difficult to comprehend what one was seeing: commercial fishermen, city officials, hardcore environmental activists, local business people, surfers, and representatives of all walks of life and political persuasions sitting at tables working cooperatively and respectfully with each other. And what has brought all these folks together? They all agree on one thing, a single issue: They are all adamantly against the PG&E permitting process for an ill-advised and horrendously destructive 3D seismic testing project using high-intensity acoustic arrays blasting away at 250 decibels. As one local fisherman quipped, “The project would be engaging in serial sterilization of our marine ecosystem. Now think about that for a minute!”

There is not a single aspect of the oceans this testing would not affect, from the destruction of the base of the food chain to potentially lethal—and assuredly harmful—effects on the apex creatures, the marine mammals and large fish species. The adverse affects on our oceans will have devastating trickle-down economic impacts with the fishermen being at the top of the list.

With these impacts driving the outcry, it’s not hard to understand the unified voice against the seismic testing project. The fact that the Northern Chumash Nation, Surfrider Foundation, C.O.A.S.T. Alliance, Stop the Diablo Seismic Testing group, Mothers for Peace, Save Our Seas, The Gray Whale Coalition, both local commercial fishermen’s associations, the city of Morro Bay, and some of the national big hitters like Greenpeace, the NRDC, and Sea Shepherd International (and the list goes on and on) are all on the same page and asking for an end to this madness speaks volumes.

We will all be focusing our efforts, data-related communications, and heartfelt sentiments to the California Coastal Commission, NOAA, and the National Marine Fisheries Service for their upcoming decisions regarding this issue. This is huge folks, so get in bed with our motley and powerful crew and join our powerful voice.

You can get info on how to make your own statement on the website stopoceanblasting.org or the local Surfrider page. Or better yet, come to a C.O.A.S.T. meeting and really get involved.

We have a choice! We have a voice!

Mandy Davis is with the C.O.A.S.T. Alliance. Send comments to the executive editor at rmiller@santamariasun.com.