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       In 1957, the University of California abandoned plans set in motion the previous year for a marine biological laboratory at Bodega Head. On May 23, 1958, Pacific Gas and Electric Company confirmed rumors that it planned to build a power plant at Bodega Head. But while the University's withdrawal lasted officially through 1960, a faculty committee, told to search for another site, recommended on November 29, 1960, that Bodega Head remain at the top of the list of possible sites. In 1961, the University announced plans to return to Bodega Head even with Pacific Gas and Electric as a future neighbor.

       Both the decision to withdraw and the decision to return to Bodega Head seemed to be based on information furnished the administration, information which analyzed the probable effects of the proposed neighboring power plant on the biological integrity of the area. Apparently, the administration never considered opposing P. G. & E.'s plans, but acted as if it had no preference as to the disposition of the adjoining property, thus relegating itself to second place.

       By selecting Bodega Head as the most economically feasible site, P. G. & E. took over land previously earmarked by the Division of Beaches and Parks as a recreational area. When it became known that P. G. & E. planned to build an atomic-powered plant, there were further questions as to the desirability of locating a plant so close to the San Andreas fault, and the Atomic Energy Commission has thus far refused to issue a construction permit because of earthquake hazards. P. G. & E. has now abandoned plans for a nuclear power plant at the site. Since a strong statement by the University might very well have forced P. G. & E. to move elsewhere earlier, the official neutrality of the University was interpreted by many as tacit approval.

       We are concerned with the University's reasons for its neutrality. Obviously, the power plant would have some effects on the University's plans, since the facility's projected cooling system involved a discharge of hot water and possibly radioactive elements into the ocean near the proposed laboratory. The University's own interest -- the biological integrity of the area -- was therefore directly involved. However, Chancellor Strong took the position, in May 1962, that it was "not appropriate... for the University to take an official position on operations or developments on adjoining lands that do not specifically impair the scientific usefulness of University property." Strong maintained that "It has been the policy of the University to defend with vigor the biological integrity of the lab site itself."1The University's neutrality, then, was based on the degree to which the power plant would damage the scientific interests of the University, and the University's opinion was that the damage would not be significant.

       The amount of damage is not merely a matter of opinion, but of hypotheses based on scientific analyses. The University's neutrality rests ultimately on the scientific data analyzing the potential effects from the power plant. During the Bodega controversy, it became clear that the University reserved to itself the right to maintain neutrality whatever the scientific data showed. The University's opinion that the power plant would not seriously damage the biological integrity of the area was stated often and publicly, but the full scientific case for that opinion was never published.

       Moreover, even when the University had judged that the power plant might damage the usefulness of the marine laboratory, the administration refused to oppose P. G. & E.'s plans. Such an unfavorable judgement is revealed in two letters written by Chancellor Glenn Seaborg in 1960. One letter, written to Philip S. Flint of the Sierra Club, dated June 28, 1960, reads: "The fact that the ecological future of Bodega Head was unpredictable made it undesirable to locate a marine laboratory at Horseshoe Cove, in view of the plans for the power station." The second letter is even more explicit:

There seems to be general agreement that the discharge of warm water from the power plant might have substantial ecological effects upon the shore life, and though such effects are nearly impossible to predict accurately, they constitute a potential risk which we cannot justifiably take. Since there are suitable alternative sites available not involving this potential risk, we therefore have felt obliged to drop the Bodega site from consideration. 2

       At no time did the administration feel it necessary to further its own interests by objecting to the power plant, and to P. G. & E. Although Bodega Head had long been admitted to be a unique site, the faculty committee in charge of the lab was told to search for alternate sites.

       The result of the search was the Emerson Report of November 29, 1960, submitted to the Chancellor by a faculty committee headed by Professor Ralph Emerson and representing several fields of biology. The report found serious shortcomings in every alternative site, and urged a return to Bodega Head. "Then for the third time," the report reads, "weighing all relevant aspects, we agreed unanimously that there was not a single one of these alternative sites that was equal to Bodega Head as it now stands. Bluntly stated, a unique Class A site for a marine facility is being exploited for power production." The strength of this language, even though it urged no direct opposition to P. G. & E. by the University, was somewhat mitigated by the report's final decision. 3The committee noted that expert opinion "had revealed the likelihood that periodic inundations of heated waters from the power plant might seriously affect the rich natural biota in the immediate vicinity of the proposed laboratory." The committee concluded, however, that one of the less favorable features of many second class sites "was the necessity for driving out from the laboratory various distances in order to reach good collecting grounds.... We accepted this as a need that probably exists to a degree with many marine laboratories anyway." 4The University returned to Bodega Head.

       By May of 1962, the University's position had become critical because of the impending Public Utilities Commission public hearings on P. G. & E.'s application for a construction license. Berkeley Biochemistry Professor J. B. Neilands circulated among the faculty a petition protesting the P. G. & E. plant. The petition failed to gain much faculty support, but even Neilands agreed, according to the Daily Californian, that "publishing the petition before the Chancellor had seen it was in bad taste." 5It was at this time that Chancellor Strong, as a rebuke of the petition, declared that it was "not appropriate" for the University to take an official position on developments that did not "specifically impair" the usefulness of the marine station.

       The administration, meanwhile, continued to staunchly defend the insignificance of the power plant's effects on the area. The Daily Californian reported Strong as saying, on May 11, 1962, that it had been determined that the discharge of warm water from the proposed P. G. & E. plant would "not adversely affect shore life" in the area. At the Public Utility Commission hearings in late May, 1962, a University representative, A. Starker Leopold, testified as follows:

We... decided on the basis of all the evidence available to us, as scientists, and when I say `us' I am speaking now of a faculty committee drawn from both the Berkeley and Davis campuses of the University, and involving principally biologists, able to weigh scientific evidence of this sort. The evidence, as we saw it, indicated that the installation of that power site beyond us and out on the Head would not render the Horseshoe Cove area unusuable (sic) for a biological station. 6

As biologists we did not feel that any developments that directly related to the power plant on the Head would render our site unusuable (sic) nor even materially alter it as a point, as a site for biological studies. 7

Leopold steadily refused to take a position on either his or the University's preference of neighbors for the marine laboratory.

MR. KORTUM: Would you say that the summation of the testimony you have given indicates it would be better if the P. G. & E. were not there?

THE WITNESS: [Mr. Leopold] I couldn't answer that. 8

       Leopold's testimony in May was made public. The scientific data, including the Emerson Report, on which the University had based its decision had not been publicly released. In November, Professor Neilands submitted a petition to the P.U.C. for a rehearing and charged that the Emerson Report called for the ouster of P. G. & E. from Bodega Head. According to the Daily Californian of November 29, 1962, a "University spokesman" replied that "The report gives unanimous support to allowing construction of the power station at the site, and adds there will be no detrimental effect upon the proposed marine biological station." But an "informed University source" quoted the famous sentence, "a unique class A site for a marine facility is being exploited for power production." Professor Emerson himself admitted that the "warmed water which will be discharged into the ocean could definitely affect the ecological life in the area." He added, however, that he could not release his report since it was a communication to the Chancellor's office. Strong's office, according to the Daily Californian, said it had made no plans to release it. 9

       Two weeks later, at the request of the faculty committee, the Emerson report was released. The working papers of which the Emerson Report was a part were not released. Nor, at this time, was the report of the "oceanographers," which sustained the University's original withdrawal, released or even substantially described by the University. The oceanographers were J. D. Frauschy, Associate Research Engineer, and D. L. Inman, Associate Professor of Marine Geology, from Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Their report, dated June 14, 1960, deals with the probable effects of P. G. & E.'s operations upon the specific area of Bodega Head, particularly regarding volume of flow and temperature differential. The report concludes:

It seems probable that Horseshoe Cove will from time to time be bathed for periods of some hours in the unmixed effluent at near discharge temperatures. In addition the sedimentation regime within Bodega Bay and its entrance channel may be modified as a result of pumping from the Bay. 10

A letter written to Professor Inman after his investigation at Bodega, but before the report, by Professor Stanier of Berkeley reads:

After my return to Berkeley, I discussed the general picture, as I had understood it from our conversations, with a number of the marine biologists here; and their reaction was so generally unfavorable that for the time being we have halted all further exploration of the possibilities of acquiring land and putting up a station at Bodega Head. 11

       A statement by Cadet Hand, Acting Director of the Marine Laboratory, December 19, 1962, mentions this report but maintains that the questions which it raised were answered by the Emerson Report, presumably, by the unavoidable necessity of collecting specimens at a distance. Hand's statement also mentions that Professor Robert L. Wiegel of Berkeley had analyzed data available from P. G. & E.'s plant at Morro Bay, which showed no appreciable increase in water temperature. "It was Professor Weigel's conclusion that due to physical and climactic differences between Morro Bay and Bodega Head that mixing, and therefore temperature decrease, would be more effective at Bodega Head than at Morro Bay." The statement summarized: "From all of the foregoing it can be concluded that the planned P. G. & E. plant will not have a significant impact on the marine environment at the University laboratory site, and that very little risk was involved in selecting Bodega Head as the site."

       The P. G. & E. data mentioned in Hand's statement would seem to be the same as that cited in a University of California "Position Statement" received by P. G. & E. on September 19, 1962. According to the statement, the P. G. & E. studies showed that "there did not appear to be any appreciable difference in temperature of the receiving water at distances even a thousand feet from the point of discharge.... No data were given on wind, wave, or current conditions at the time of measurements." The absence of wind, wave, and current conditions is a simplification which does not appear in Hand's statement. From a letter by Cadet Hand, dated January 15, 1963, it seems clear that the faculty were presented with only two choices: either they could share Bodega Head with P. G. & E., or they could withdraw completely.

       The lack of public information on the Bodega controversy became a matter of student discussion in the ASUC Senate for a very short time. At a meeting of the ASUC Senate, December 13, 1962, the day of the Emerson Report release, Commuter-Independent Representatives Jerry Miller and Michael Travis moved that the ASUC establish a committee to report to the campus on the Bodega Head problem. Dr. Lyman Porter, Faculty Representative, immediately moved to postpone the item indefinitely: Dr. Porter said that this is a topic which the University has had a number of experts working on for a number of years. All the reports that have been made are available to the PUC anytime they want them. He said that he saw no relevance for the Senate to get involved in this affair. 12 Porter did not say that the reports were available to the public. Dean Williams said that "Dr. Porter's explanation covers the University's feelings on establishing another committee." Miller protested that he was not arguing that the committee should take any action. "The controversy here is whether or not the University has freely published all the information on this matter." The motion to postpone indefinitely was carried seven to five.

       The controversy which developed over a road which P. G. & E. wanted built down the west shore of Bodega Harbor illustrates in miniature the pattern of administration action, including lack of respect for faculty opinion. On the basis of scientific objections from the head of the marine laboratory, Chancellor Strong at first protested the road. In a letter to Col. John Morrison, of the Army Corps of Engineers in San Francisco (received December 13, 1961), Strong states the University's opposition to the entire road, including portions not on University property:

The University of California wishes to register a formal protest against the proposed tidelands road along the West shore of Bodega Harbor.... From the standpoint of the University an overland route to the Campbell Cove area would be very much preferable.... The University has discussed the routing of the road with Sonoma County officials and received from them a minor concession in the form of inland routing of a short portion of the road on what will be part of the Marine Research Station Site. This particular bit of shoreline which will be preserved is actually atypical... it does not have many of the faunal elements present elsewhere along the shore.

Cadet Hand, Acting Director of the Marine Laboratory, continued to protest the road in its entirety at the public hearing before the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers at Bodega Bay on February 16, 1962. The statement reads in part:

While rerouting protects and saves many organisms, the road throughout the rest of its length destroys some of the very values which led us to choose this headland as our site in the first place. It is regrettable that a great University and a great County find themselves at odds, but the values lost to the University, County, State, Nation, and World by the presence of such a road far outweigh the short term values such a road might bring to the County and its users.

       Administration support for the objection to the road seems to have ebbed very quickly, however. It is possible that Hand had been rebuked for his strong stand at the Army Corps Hearing. In a letter to Strong on February 21, 1962, Hand reveals that his position has not been sustained by the administration:

Since I was there (Army Corps Hearing) with your permission and since Mr. Prather (Chairman of the Harbor Commission and County Planning Director) used your letter to him of February 8, 1962, as evidence that the University was satisfied with the present proposed location of the road, I took the opportunity to make it clear that biologically we still had to object to any part of the road being in the tidelands.... I trust you understand my position and feeling in all of this.

The minutes of the May 10, 1962, meeting of the Sonoma County Harbor Commission reveal that the University had directed its business officer not to oppose the road:

Mr. Prather replied that Mr. O. W. Campbell, Business and Finance Officer of the University, has indicated that the institution is in accord with the county's plans of development including the west shore road at Bodega Harbor; that anything to the contrary, including some of the scientists, is contrary to the University's position.... He further reported that the University has indicated that there is no problem insofar as scientific interests are concerned, and that as soon as their acquisition of 320 acres is concluded they will deed the necessary right of way to the county.

       The lack of respect for the scientifically based faculty objection to the road was described by Mr. Leopold, at the PUC hearings, as an "honest disagreement of opinion," and, in this case, the Administration had apparently decided that even the damage done to the "scientific usefulness" of University property did not warrant a protest. The official transcript of the PUC hearings in May, 1962, reads (p. 819):

[Mr. Leopold]: Acting Director Hand felt we should object to more of the road than the Chancellor himself. This I stated was an honest disagreement of opinion among ourselves.

Q. So the present position is that the roadway in its entirety is not objectionable?

A. [Mr. Leopold] That is correct.

       It should be clear by now that the effects of the power plant on the marine laboratory were always more hypothetical than certain. Nevertheless, there is very little evidence that the University made every effort possible to collect and analyze pertinent data, or to investigate analogous situations fully. More importantly, however, the University, by withholding all the information which it had, gave the impression at least that the public -- even the faculty -- should not see all the evidence for the University's decision, so that while the administration maintained that "experts" had made the decision, it created an atmosphere of suspicion by not releasing the evidence which would enable some to question the judgment of those experts. The suspicions also tended to provoke charges of administration "collusion" with P. G. &.E.

       Moreover, contracts between the University and the ABC for the fiscal years of 1963 and 1964 belie the University's position that the power plant would not significantly alter the environment. In 1963, the University received $22,176 for a "Marine Ecological Survey of the Bodega Region," with Cadet Hand as investigator, to ascertain the effects of radiation and hot water on the marine environment. For the fiscal year of 1964, the proposed survey received $39,296. An effect significant enough to study in this way would seem to be a different kind of effect from one which Leopold, at the PUC hearing, testified would not "materially alter" the site.

       It seems clear, then, that it was the administration's refusal to oppose P. G. & E.'s plans, rather than the consideration of the plant's effect on the biological integrity of the area that determined the University's neutrality. Such neutrality, however, was interpreted as approval of P. G. & E.'s plans, and was in fact used as an argument in favor of the power plant before the Public Utilities Commission. In a reply brief submitted to the Supreme Court of California (the P. G. & E. decision had been appealed several times), P. G. & E. took special note, in its own defense, of a passage from the previous PUC decision (#64537). The brief notes that many of the protestants had seemed to take the position that a marine laboratory and a power plant were incompatible, but "the record belies their position. Spokesmen for the University of California's proposed Marine Biological Station and the State Division of Beaches and Parks made it clear that they are not opposing the nuclear plant and that it will not interfere with their respective plans for operations and land use on Bodega Head."13

       -- Rena A. Fraboni
       Teaching Assistant, English


1. Strong's statement was quoted in part in the Daily Californian of May 11, 1962, in the Berkeley Daily Gazette of the same date, and in full in the Daily Californian of November 29, 1962.

2. The letter is dated September 19, 1960, and is addressed to Mr. Lennart Cederborg of Oakland. Mr. Cederborg is a lawyer who represents Mrs. Rose Gaffney, previous owner of much of the land on Bodega Head.

3. See below for a discussion of the oceanographers' report.

4. This information was finally released to the press through the Office of Public Information, December 13, 1962. See below for the circumstances surrounding the release.

5. Daily Californian, May 11, 1962.

6. Transcript, PUC hearings, p. 796.

7. Op. cit., p. 798.

8. Op. cit., p. 842.

9. All quotations are from the Daily Californian, November 29, 1962.

10. The report was compiled by professors J.D. Frautschy and D.L. Inman of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and is dated June 14, 1960.

11. From Roger Y. Stanier, University of California, Department of Bacteriology, dated May 25, 1960.

12. All quotations in this paragraph have been taken from the official ASUC Senate minutes. It is debatable whether all the reports were "available" to the PUC, since the University did not encourage the PUC to request them for a public hearing.

13. See AEC press release, October 23, 1963.


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