Nancy Pelosi and 62 other House Democrats with 100% ratings from the Sierra Club have for decades been using the Endangered Species Act (ESA) try to litigate small rural California communities out of existence for having the gall to use water for farming and ranching. That is why it will be entertaining to watch the progress of a new ESA lawsuit aimed at forcing San Francisco elitists, like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and her neighbors at the Sierra Club headquarters, to live by the same rules they impose on the rural bumpkins they seem to disdain.
A federal lawsuit was filed this week that contends the Hetch Hetchy Project, which supplies water to San Francisco and the Bay Area, has unfairly enjoyed an exemption from the “severe cutbacks” required in rural California in order to save endangered fish species. The lawsuit seeks to have the ESA applied uniformly for all.
John Muir, the naturalist and first president of the Sierra Club wrote that Hetch Hetchy valley was: “A grand landscape garden, one of nature’s rarest and most precious mountain mansions. As in Yosemite, the sublime rocks of its walls glow with life, whether leaning back in repose or standing erect in thoughtful attitudes, giving welcome to storms and calms alike.”
After the federal government made the Area into Yosemite National Park, San Francisco Public Utility Commission built O’Shaughnessy Dam in 1913 to flood the half of Yosemite that included Hetch Hetchy Valley as one of nine reservoirs for the city’s water system.
Because of its predatory political clout, San Francisco draws 85% of its water from The Hetch Hetchy Project and only has to utilize 2.5 million gallons of groundwater in today’s drought period, compared with 14.5 million in 1930. San Francisco also does little to harness the 5.5 million acre-feet of its annual rainwater.
Consequently, San Francisco does not have to purchase expensive water supplies on the open market in drought years, and its recycling efforts lag way behind the other leading cities in California. For example, Los Angeles recycles 189 million gallons per day, compared with just 1 million per day in San Francisco.
The Washington Times reported that Craig Manson, who heads the Center for Environmental Science, Accuracy and Reliability (CESAR) in Fresno, said their ESA lawsuit is aimed at addressing the “double standard” that forces farmers to give up water in the name of species conservation–without requiring Bay Area residents having to do the same.
Mr. Manson says he wants the National Park Service to press the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to end the special exemption from the Endangered Species Act (ESA), but “the Park Service just won’t do it.”
The lawsuit says that although the Fish and Wildlife Service and National Marine Fisheries Service have ordered “severe cutbacks” in the amount of water provided to the Central Valley in order to protect the fish habitat, those agencies “have required no such cutbacks for the Hetch Hetchy Project diversions because [the] defendants have never initiated the statutorily required ESA consultations.”
“San Francisco is politically powerful in California, and they have been able to fend off Hetch Hetchy lovers for years,” said Mr. Manson. “If that valley, the Hetch Hetchy Valley, were anyplace else, it would not have been flooded in the first place. It just goes to show people are wedded to their own interests even if it goes against their philosophical leanings.”
Mr. Manson emphasized that his nonprofit that filed the lawsuit is dedicated to supporting scientific research “with an emphasis on ensuring absolute rigor and complete transparency, rather than a focus on outcome.”