Friday, July 27, 2018

Is Zinke trolling San Francisco with plan to dismantle city's reservoir?

US interior secretary Ryan Zinke has prompted puzzlement by meeting with a group that seeks to dismantle a dam providing San Francisco’s water, as experts wonder whether he is taking the fringe proposal seriously or trolling the city. Zinke’s Sunday discussion with Restore Hetch Hetchy concerned the dam at Hetch Hetchy reservoir in California’s Yosemite national park. Removing it would restore the valley, which was once so beautiful that the environmentalist John Muir called it “one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain temples”, to its natural state - and force San Francisco to figure out where else to store 90% of its water supply. Jay Lund, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at University of California, Davis who published an authoritative study on the topic, ventured that Zinke is “poking environmentalists in San Francisco in the eye”. Liberals have attacked Zinke for his efforts to lease US public land to oil and gas interests, but the water supply in one of the most liberal cities in the United States rests on the destruction of public land that was, reportedly, more beautiful than Yosemite valley itself. This is a potentially confounding state of affairs for San Francisco residents protective of their water but used to championing environmental causes...MORE

Poke away Mr. Secretary, just understand you won't be the first to pick up a sharp stick and aim it at San Francisco.

From the August 7, 1987 edition of the L.A. Times:

Hodel Would Tear Down Dam in Hetch Hetchy
SAN FRANCISCO — Environmentalists were stunned and San Francisco officials were outraged Thursday by Interior Secretary Donald P. Hodel's suggestion that Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park be drained and the valley restored to its natural state.

Hetch Hetchy Valley, dammed and flooded in the 1920s despite bitter opposition from Sierra Club founder John Muir, provides drinking water for an estimated 2 million people in the San Francisco area, and both critics and supporters of Hodel's idea pointed Thursday to major financial, political and logistical barriers.

Preliminary Move

In a move he described as very preliminary, Hodel directed his staff to investigate the possibility of finding an alternative water supply for San Francisco and restoring Hetch Hetchy. Restoration would require razing the 430-foot, 64-year-old O'Shaughnessy Dam on the Tuolomne River and dismantling power plants downstream.

Hodel said in a staff memo that persuading San Francisco officials to "go along with us is only the beginning." Once the reservoir is emptied, he wrote, "we will have to clean up the valley and revegetate it, and remove the dam." He said that within a decade, "we will see green mountain meadows and young forests and wildlife."...

If it weren't for those darned environmentalists, we  would all be enjoying those "green mountain meadows and young forests and wildlife" today. (hee hee)

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