Saturday, August 04, 2012

Strange bedfellows

Many years ago, city City of San Francisco got itself a sweetheart deal that allowed them to flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yellowstone National Park. Now, as a country, we've flooded a lot of scenic areas in the last 200 years or so, but Hetch Hetchy was one of the (maybe) 3 or 4 that could well be said to be travesties--assuming that we really do give a rat's ass about such things.

Fast forward to today.

On one side are Republican lawmakers and environmentalists, including Ronald Reagan's former interior secretary, who want the dam removed and valley restored. On the other are Democratic San Franciscans, led by Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, fighting to hold onto the city's famously pure drinking water in a drought-prone state.

De-e-elicious.

Given that the environmental damage is done and that the cost of undoing it would simply add more borrowing to our already over-extended credit (unless we decided to use it as an experiment and just let nature take its course, which, being meddlesome, we'd never do), I think we need to leave Hetch Hetchy alone.

However, Congress needs to amend the legislation that allowed this in the first place, and start charging all those thirsty San Franciscans market rates for the water and power from the dam. And I think they need to something similar with the Bonneville Power Authority, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and any other BS Authority that was set up back in the day that gives out these sweetheart rates to those that were once, and to a large extent, still are, favored.

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