According to PG&E’s environmental impact report prepared for state agencies, on the proposed hi-intensity seismic testing project, hundreds of marine mammals — including whales, porpoises, dolphins, seals and sea lions — will be injured or killed. The report’s conclusion of “significant and unavoidable impacts” strongly contradicts the conclusion of the project’s other environmental document, the environmental assessment, that was submitted to federal agencies.
While both documents estimate that tens of thousands of marine mammals will experience “take by harassment,” when it comes to estimating animals to be injured or killed, the EIR and EA completely differ: the EA claims there will be no injuries, deaths, longterm or significant impacts to marine mammal populations; in great contrast, the EIR concludes that the project will result in noise-related injury or mortality of up to 889 individual marine mammals, and that the project’s impacts to marine mammals will be significant and unavoidable. (The EIR is available on www.slc.ca.gov ; see Chapter 4, and Appendix H.)
Now there’s an idea for a news story: two environmental documents, both prepared by PG&E, but with completely different conclusions regarding severity of impacts to local marine mammals — how did that happen?