Restoring Yosemite's Hetch Hetchy Valley in 2016
moving forward in State Court
Dear Friends of Restore Hetch Hetchy:
I hope you are enjoying the winter holiday season. It is great to see Yosemite and the rest of the Sierra Nevada covered with snow.
Thanks to supporters like you, 2015 was a productive and exciting year for Restore Hetch Hetchy. We are looking forward to continued progress next year. We hope you will continue to invest in the future of Yosemite.
As you know, officials in San Francisco have refused to consider restoration of Hetch Hetchy Valley or even engage in substantive discussion of the water system alternatives that would make restoration possible. So we are focusing on a legal strategy in the California courts. And we are making progress.
Artist's conception of a restored Hetch Hetchy Valley. (Painting by Laura Cunningham)
In 2015, Restore Hetch Hetchy:
- Completed and updated fundamental research showing that Hetch Hetchy would be more valuable as a restored valley in Yosemite National Park than it is as a reservoir. This research continues to show that Hetch Hetchy can be restored without anyone losing a drop of water.
- Filed litigation in April against San Francisco, asserting that the reservoir it operates in Hetch Hetchy violates the California Constitution - specifically its mandate prohibiting any "unreasonable method of diversion of water".
- Won the first round in this litigation in October when the court ruled against San Francisco's motion to move the case to San Francisco. The case will stay in Tuolumne County where the reservoir is located.
Still, it is clear we have much work to do. Presently we are responding to additional legal challenges from San Francisco. We expect to prevail and to ask the court to refer our case to the State Water Resources Control Board where we will present evidence from highly qualified experts.
Restore Hetch Hetchy will need additional support to pursue this legal strategy to its conclusion.
The Restore Hetch Hetchy Board has committed to match every dollar donated, up to a total of $60,000 through 31 January 2016. So we aim to raise $120,000 with this appeal.
I hope you will consider a contribution as 2015 comes to a close.