On Thursday, we received an adverse ruling from the Tuolumne County Superior Court. The judge dismissed our lawsuit on procedural grounds.
Restore Hetch Hetchy boardmembers and a few friends overlooking the future valley.
We will appeal the ruling and are meeting with our attorneys next week to begin the process.
Our press release is posted on our website.
The judge dismissed the suit on two grounds: federal preemption and statute of limitations. Our extensive legal research, conducted long before we filed our petition, indicated that the "savings" clause in the Raker Act, which plainly states San Francisco's facilities must comply with California law, would sustain our right to file in State court. We will review that research, as well as San Francisco's claims and the lower Court's decision, and develop our argument for the Court of Appeals.
Similarly, we will respond to the ruling that the statute of limitations has passed. We will argue that the violation is ongoing and the "reasonableness" provision in California's Constitution is an evolving standard.
We are, of course, disappointed. Had we prevailed on these issues in Tuolumne County, San Francisco would no doubt have appealed the ruling. But it would be better to go to the Court of Appeals with an initial ruling in our favor. Note, however, that a large number of cases, environmental and otherwise, eventually succeed after initial adverse rulings.
We are committed to substantive discussion of the merits of restoration - something San Francisco steadfastly continues to resist. We continue to believe that a fair hearing of the costs and benefits of our proposal will lead to the restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park.
More to come.
P.S. For those interested in more information, we have posted the Court's ruling on our website. For press coverage, see the San Jose Mercury News, KQED, the Associated Press, and the San Francisco Chronicle. The Chronicle has also indicated it will be publishing an editorial this weekend. More dicussions with press are scheduled for next week. Finally, The Gil Gross Program will discuss restoration next Wednesday at 12:30 (radio at 910 AM).