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Bodega Bay Activist Honored For Fight Against Nuclear Plant

BODEGA BAY (KPIX 5) -- It's been more than 50 years since a small group of environmentalists fought off PG&E's plans to build a nuclear plant in the North Bay.

The 70-foot pit the utility dug at Bodega Head still stands as an unofficial monument to the woman who led the charge.

KPIX 5 on Friday returned to the site with geologist and power plant opponent Doris Sloan.

"Come and see this, it's amazing. Look at how still it is. It's beautiful."

There on the edge of Bodega Bay, Sloan took a moment to appreciate her own legacy and an amazing piece of California history.

"You wouldn't know now -- looking at this -- that it isn't natural," said Sloan.

What is now commonly known as Bodega's "Hole in the Head" was made back in the 1960s by PG&E.

"The company, you see, has been operating in California for 110 years," explained PG&E spokesperson Hal Stroube.

Bodega Head was where the company wanted to build the first commercially viable nuclear power plant in the United States.

"Today it seems totally insane," said Sloan.

"The amount of radiation that will be contributed, would be about the equivalent of the amount of radiation which an average American family would get watching television," defended Stroube.

Sloan -- at the time a young wife and mother -- wasn't having it.

She helped rally western Sonoma County against the plant, arguing that it would be a seismic safety hazard. And by 1964, they won.

"If it weren't for the geology, we'd have a power plant," said Sloan.

The victory not only saved the land in Bodega, it is widely considered to be the birth of the modern environmental movement.

"Such an honor to meet here today. We, the folks that work out here, think about this a lot, what they did. This is a special place," said Suzanne Olyarnik, who works with the UC Davis Bodega Marine Laboratory.

On Thursday, Sloan was honored for her role in saving this coastline as we know it.

"I really feel that I was one of so many. And we're all really proud that the hole is there, and there's a place for the birds to roost," said Sloan

They look at the hole not as a scar on the land, but as a reminder of what a group of rural citizens left for all of us.

"For future generations, it's wonderful. It's really wonderful," said Sloan.

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