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Effort Fails In San Francisco To Move Towards Draining Hetch Hetchy Valley In Yosemite National Park


A ballot initiative designed to move San Francisco away from reliance on the reservoir that submerged the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park was overwhelmingly rejected by voters.

Proponents of the initiative, though, said the more than 55,000 votes the measure received demonstrated some success in "inspiring San Franciscans to imagine a different future - one that would increase their water security and begin to reverse the damage the City has done to Yosemite National Park and the Tuolumne River."

Out of the 244,099 votes cast on the Water Conservation & Yosemite Restoration Initiative, 188,924 opposed it.

The initiative would have required San Francisco to create a water conservation task force, and require that task force to present a plan to voters for greater water conservation and restoration of Yosemite National Park.

“Although we have not yet prevailed, the Yosemite Restoration Campaign has achieved many of the goals we set out to accomplish," campaign leaders said in a prepared statement. "For the first time ever, San Franciscans considered a different future that would increase our water security and begin to reverse the damage the City has done to Yosemite National Park and the Tuolumne River. Nearly a quarter voted to reform our 19th century water system so that the Hetch Hetchy Valley and the Tuolumne River can be restored.

“Today was a beginning, not an end. Over 50,000 San Franciscans sent a powerful message to our elected officials that the status quo is not good enough. We will spend the next two years leveraging and expanding this base of support to advance the cause of water reform in San Francisco and environmental restoration in Yosemite. We have no doubt that the values of sustainability and restoration will ultimately prevail."

Proposition F would have required the city to develop a two-part plan to build San Francisco’s local water resources and "reverse the damage done to the environment by the current water system over the last 100 years," the campaign said.

Groups that supported the initiative included the National Wildlife Federation, San Francisco League of Conservation Voters, National Parks Conservation Association, Sierra Nevada Alliance, Foothill Conservancy, Forest Issues Group, Friends of the River, California Water Impact Network, Eco Equity, Endangered Species Coalition, The Planning and Conservation League, Earth Island Institute and Wild Equity.



Good try, but it'll never happen.

Like those stickers saying Keep Tahoe Blue, then these people plug up Tahoe. It shoudl read "Keep Tahoe Blue, Stay Home"

Never thought there were that many evil conservatives in the Bay Area. Isn't that where Pelosi get's elected time and time again? What's going on? Was this expected?

San Francisco's dirty little secret is not so secret anymore. All Californians need to vote on this. California voters say "let us vote!" Bring on the statewide initiative! All of those San Francisco Prius drivers who just voted to keep a dam in a national park are just a big hypocritical joke along with their leader, Senator Feinstein.

Just a bunch of hypocrites.

Frankly, I am less worried about restoring Hetch Hetchy (although I want it restored) than what is happening across our public lands today. In the name of so-called green energy, look at what we are doing to the best of those public lands. Abutting the Mojave National Preserve, we will soon have a 3,600-acre solar power plant. Steens Mountain in Oregon is also on the chopping block for an industrial-scale wind farm. Except for the [Portland] Oregonian, no major newspaper this year took my op-ed on those issues, since it is now politically incorrect to challenge "green" energy anywhere. A hundred years ago, that is exactly how we lost Hetch Hetchy. Those challenging the project were insulted and "marginalized." They were kooks; they stood in the way of "progress." And so it is today with "green" energy. How dare anyone stand in its way?

I dare all of the environmental groups who supported Prop F to consider the Hetch Hetchies we are creating today. Will green energy stop global warming? Not a chance, unless we also stop population. Forty years ago, those organizations dared remind the world that growth is the deeper issue. Why did San Francisco vote them down? Because it knows that growth needs water. It may be a blue city in a very blue state, but on that score it is conservative through and through. We will not save the public lands--or restore Hetch Hetchy--until we admit some harder, not just "inconvenient," truths. A healthy environment demands human discipline at every level, and that means "green" energy, too.

Al Runte certainly has some points for all of us to think about.

I wonder if even a small part of the issue is that Californians have a deep-seated (and well-founded) anxiety about drought, and so are more than usually possessive about hanging onto water sources? I remember living in the Bay Area during the drought of the mid-70s, and of rationing water to the point where the government was using the slogan "if it's yellow let it mellow if it's brown flush it down."

It's a thought, anyway.

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