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Abalone Alliance Rally – San Luis Obispo, CA

on June 30, 1979 No comments

by David Middlecamp

Arial photo of the Abalone Alliance Concert "Stop Diablo Canyon" Camp Edwards San Luis Obispo, CA 6-30-1979 © Wayne Nicholls

Crowd at the Abalone Alliance Concert "Stop Diablo Canyon" Camp Edwards San Luis Obispo, CA 6-30-1979 © Tony Hertz

Governor Edmund Gerald "Jerry” Brown Jr. at the Abalone Alliance Concert "Stop Diablo Canyon" Camp Edwards San Luis Obispo, CA 6-30-1979 © Tony Hertz

June 30th, 1979: California Governor Jerry Brown addressing a crowd of about 25,000 at an anti-nuclear rally in San Luis Obispo, California. Los Angeles Times.


Bonnie Raitt concentrates on her song, which drew a standing ovation.

It was San Luis Obispo County’s Woodstock only with less mud, sex, drugs or rock and roll but more politics. They estimated 20,000 would attend.
Over 30,000 people jammed Highway 1 for a combination music festival and anti-nuclear rally.
It was held on the Army airstrip behind Cuesta College almost three months to the day of the partial meltdown at the Three Mile Island plant in Pennsylvania. With the prospect of a new nuclear power plant opening soon at Diablo Canyon tensions were high.
The seven hour rally featured Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr., actor Mike Farrell of M*A*S*H, Daniel Ellsburg, County Supervisor Richard J. Krejsa, Friends of the Earth founder David Brower and U.C. Berkley professor John Gofman.
The singers included Bonnie Raitt, Peter Yarrow, Jesse Colin Young, Jackson Browne and Graham Nash.

Protest Diablo Canyon

Excerpts from the 1982 documentary film, "Dark Circle". Diablo Canyon was built and entered service despite legal challenges and civil disobedience from the anti-nuclear protesters of the Abalone Alliance. Over a two-week period in 1981, 1,900 activists were arrested at Diablo Canyon Power Plant.

It was the largest arrest total in the history of the U.S. anti-nuclear movement.

Decades of Protest

In a major victory for environmentalists, California is going nuclear-free, ending atomic energy’s more than half-century history in the state. On Tuesday, one of the state’s largest utilities agreed to a proposal endorsed by environmental groups and labor unions to shutter California’s last operating nuclear power plant, Diablo Canyon, by 2025. California is the world’s sixth largest economy, and it was among the first states to embrace nuclear energy in the 1950s.

Closing Diablo Plant

“Listen to the Scientists:” Citizens Rally Against Closure of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant. Despite being set to close, a recent report has been published on The Diablo Canyon Power Plant, California’s last remaining nuclear plant — stating that it may be in the state’s best interest to keep the plant open. Mustang News Reporter Sofia Silvia took to Downtown San Luis Obispo to follow scientists and community members who are advocating for the plant.

Nuclear Power Kills

This film examines the existential danger of meltdown from the continued operation of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, it's radioactive legacy, and the ongoing negative health impacts caused by federally-approved radiation releases during "normal" operations. In 2016 the California State Lands Commission (SLC) opted to give Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) a new lease for their nuclear power plant on California's Central Coast and the last one in the entire state.

Quoting the lede of the page 1 story by Carl Neiburger:
Before Edmund G. Brown Jr. was allowed to walk on state at Saturday’s anti-nuclear rally at Camp San Luis Obispo, the Democratic Governor had to assure rally organizers that he would do everything in his power to stop the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.The five-member Abalone Alliance ‘rally collective’ had spend about an hour listening to what the governor wanted to say, discussing it with him and then- in Brown’s absence- coming to a “consensus” that he should be allowed to address the audience.
Brown told the crowd of about 30,000 people,

I’ve just decided to join your effort to deny a license to the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant. I personally intend to pursue every avenue of appeal if the Nuclear Regulatory Commission ignores the will of this community.

He got a minute long standing ovation before and after the speech.
Some members of the alliance, a confederation of anti nuclear groups throughout the state, were less-than-enthusiastic.
Spokeswoman Marcy Darnovsky of Berkley quit, saying,

The Abalone Alliance was not formed to be a platform for candidates for elective office.

Tom Hayden wasn’t allowed to speak because he hadn’t been invited to the rally and hadn’t taken a firm stand against the plant according to another Abalone Alliance spokeswoman.
At this point it was estimated that PG&E had $1.6 billion invested in the plant.
By 1982 Brown was out of office, Unit 1 opened in November 1984 and Unit 2 in August 1985.
Bonnie Raitt is returning to the county for a concert on October 5 with Cambria singer songwriter Jude Johnstone opening.

Source: © Copyright Photos from the Vault

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  2. 1972 Diablo Construction & County aerials
  3. 1965 Oceano Dunes
  4. Abalone Siezed
  5. 1984 Walter Mondale

More Info:
The Pop History Dig: Linda & Jerry 1971-1983
Climate Depot
The Energy Net

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