RHH has said that they are not done with their fight. They bankrolled the signature gathering that got Prop F "Sustainability" on the ballot. By playing to SF'ers do-gooder green character, and keeping their true goal of draining Hetch Hetchy hidden, they got folks to sign their petition. Heck, I signed the thing. Who doesn't want more efficient water use? Turns out most of the SF population would like to keep their source of clean water and energy - and their dam.
What is next? Who knows what the RHH financial situation is? Hopefully they will go home and leave the issue alone.
Besides a notoriously non-green senate candidate, did they have any popular support? Sierra Club is not in their corner, and considers the possibility of the dam's destruction to be a very problematic situation.
RHH has raised the hackles of green-centric folks around the state and country who are not familiar with the situation. Having no real solutions and lots of press releases on what should be done (whether or not it is feasible), they have scared up a following among environmentally minded folks, especially those outside of SF and the Penninsula who don't depend on the clean water and hydroelectricity provided by our *historic dam.
With the country suffering the effects of extreme drought, do we want to destroy the dependable source of drinkable water that we share with other parts of the state? Surely that way lies madness.
Discussing access to HH and its fabled loveliness, it's important to consider the fate of its sister attraction, Yosemite Valley. Choked with cars and visitors in the summer, Yosemite has been known to have hazardous air warnings as the trapped exhaust of thousands of vehicles hovers in the valley. As HH is now, it is available to anyone, and the trails are open to those who cherish the wild character of the mountains more than the asphalt, snack stands and souvenir hawkers of Yosemite.
And - the question needs to be asked: "Who benefits and how?" If the prop had passed, we would look at the entities would split the $8mil for the study. If RHH intends to go forward, who would profit from the eventual destruction of the O'Shaughnessy Dam?
- The companies that would tear down and process the dam
- The communities whose riparian rights would suddenly make it possible to take waters that had previously gone directly from the mountains to the Bay Area
- The companies with solutions to replace the lost potable water for SF and the Penninsula (including energy-intensive desalinization plants that destroy marine life with the increased concentrated salts released from those plants)
- The companies who would step in to replace the lost clean hydroelctric power
- The cost of water and power would go up - who would pocket those funds?
- The companies who would tame the valley with roads and commercial establishments
So - what is next? Hopefully RHH will go home and leave the issue alone. Leave the valley alone, leave our water alone, leave our hydroelectric alone.
They are a smart bunch, hopefully they can find a new capital project with green overtones to throw their weight behind.