Lungren, Feinstein spar over Hetch Hetchy Valley restoration

Poway Roger Poway Roger 5 Comments


I’ve been a supporter of the proposed restoration of Hetch Hetchy in Yosemite Valley for years. I have to laugh that whenever this subject is brought up in politics, it’s the liberal enclave of San Francisco, the home of the Sierra Club, which fights the proposal because it is where a lot of their water is stored. It doesn’t matter that Hetch Hetchy was said to rival Yosemite Valley in grander, nor does it matter that studies have been made to show that water savings and the enlarging of other dams here would make up for the loss of Hetch Hetchy water.

So once again, a liberal politician, Senator Dianne Feinstein, a supposedly pro-environment one at that, is fighting the proposed restoration. Sure would be nice if she could figure out exactly what she supports instead of bending with the wind.

Let me quote John Muir, the founder of the Sierra Club, who had fought the damming of this valley (which by some accounts, led to his death because of his broken heart over the project):

“These temple-destroyers, devotees of ravaging commercialism, seem to have a perfect contempt for Nature, and instead of lifting their eyes to the God of the mountains, lift them to the Almighty Dollar. Dam Hetch Hetchy! As well dam for water-tanks the people’s cathedrals and churches, for no holier temple has ever been consecrated by the heart of man.” — from The Yosemite (1912)


Comments 5

  1. SD Rostra is always a better place when Poway Roger reaches back and throws a 95 mph High, Hard one at
    some deserving target! May there be many more to follow.

  2. I don’t know if I should thank you for that comment, Jim.

    On a side note, I claim to be a conservative, meaning less government and lower taxes to boost the economy. However, I also claim to be an environmentalist, which some of my liberal friends state is impossible. I disagree and call them on their ignorance. It’s like some liberals who wrongly base their impression of Mormonism on the writings of Edward Abbey (One of my favorite environmental writers and his dislike for Mormons is apparent in his writings), or that all Mormons are Republicans (Of course those with any kind of knowledge would know that there are many, including Senator Reed from Nevada who is LDS), not knowing that in the early days of the Church in Utah, that most members were in fact Democrats. Oh, any guess what faith I am?

    BTW, here’s the official restore Hetch Hetchy site-

    And if you’re in the mood, the site to remove Glen Canyon Dam.-

  3. Great comments all the way around, including from my friend and colleague Spreck. Let me attempt to add to the body of knowledge on this issue. The basis for Congressman Lungren’s request to Sect’y Salazar is a provision on the Raker Act (that’s where SF got the permission to build a reservoir in a National Park) that says that SF should develop its “local sources” of water before taking water from the Tuolumne River. ” Local sources” would include water recycling, something that virtually every municipal entity of any consequence in California has been doing for years. Check out the survey of municipal water recycling facilities in the state at —

    San Francisco —— 0
    San Diego City ——13,102

    and there may be other San Diego County municipalities in the survey.

    Those are acre feet, and one acre foot equals 326,000 gallons.

    You might ask why doesn’t SF recycle water. The answer reveals the uglier side of the personalities of cities as well as many people. If you’ve already “got yours” then you tend to be unwilling to spend a few extra bucks for something that will indirectly benefit third parties. For years SF assumed that if it needed more water it could just go get it from the Tuolumne River (which was afforded prestigious Nationa Wild & Scenic status during the Reagan years. So, while giving lip service to joining the rest of the state in some serious water recycling they basically did no more than produce a bunch of consultants’ reports about possible recycling opportunities.

    Hopefully, the chickens are now coming home to roost.

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