Legal Campaign and Fundraising Update

Restore Hetch Hetchy legal and fundraising update

papers filed, target exceeded

On January 15, 2016, Restore Hetch Hetchy filed documents in Tuolumne County Superior Court in opposition to San Francisco's attempt to dismiss our lawsuit.  


Camp Fire Girls in Hetch Hetchy (1919)

Since 2013, when we began researching and planning our case in earnest, we have anticipated that San Francisco will attempt to avoid any public discussion of the merits of restoring Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley - as they have for more than 10 years. So neither their "demurrer" nor their "motion to strike" came as a surprise.

We believe the merits are firmly on our side. 


Congressman Raker, left, (Manteca) authored the Raker Act. Senator Works (California) opposed it. They agreed, however, it would be subordinate to California law.

One of San Francisco's principal arguments is that the Federal Raker Act, which granted the city permission to build a reservoir in Yosemite National Park, preempts any State law (in our case the California Constitution) that might be in our favor. In response, we point both to the letter of the law (...nothing herein contained shall be construed as affecting or intending to affect or in any way to interfere with the laws of the State of California ...), and to various statements in the Congressional Record, including one by the Act's author, John Raker: "the bill is not drafted nor designed nor intended to usurp the powers of the State of California in the matter of control of the distribution of water."  For those interested in more detail, we have posted our opposition to the demurrer and our opposition to the motion to strike

The Court will hear oral argument on January 29.

In other news, we are thrilled that contributions in response to our board challenge have surpassed our goals. With two weeks to go before the January 31 deadline, supporters have contributed more than $75,000 - $15,000 above our target. Together with contributions from our generous and committed boardmembers, we have raised more than $135,000 since November 1. A huge thank you to everyone who has contributed.

If you have not had the opportunity to contribute, please do so. Additional funds will be needed as  our case continues. We look forward to the opportunity to discuss the merits of restoration in court, to show that the benefits outweigh the costs and, of course, to demonstrate that restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park can be accomplished without anyone losing a drop of water.

It is time to return Hetch Hetchy to the American people.