Rep. Connie Conway (CA-22) today introduced a bill in the House of Representatives to open up the Hetch Hetchy reservoir to recreational activities and to force the City of San Francisco to pay a fair price for its access to the reservoir’s water and power.
Cosponsored by Representatives David Valadao (CA-21) and Tom McClintock (CA-4), the Yosemite National Park Equal Access and Fairness Act will ensure that Californians can partake in recreational activities such as swimming, boating, and camping that are currently banned or tightly restricted at the reservoir, contradicting the stated intentions of San Francisco from the early 1900s—when Hetch Hetchy was dammed—to provide for recreational activities.
The bill will also raise the annual fee paid by the City of San Francisco for its access to Hetch Hetchy’s resources from $30,000 to at least $2 million.
Rep. Conway said, “Hetch Hetchy belongs to the people of California, but we are prohibited from enjoying its natural beauty or simply having picknicks there. San Francisco has not provided for these recreational activities, while paying a tiny fee for the invaluable benefits the city reaps from the reservoir. This bill will allow California families to access these serene areas and force San Francisco to pay a fair price for the benefits it has enjoyed from Hetch Hetchy for a century.”
Rep. Valadao said, “For too many years, San Francisco has gotten away with paying a minuscule rental fee for the abundant water supply Hetch Hetchy provides the city and surrounding communities. I’m glad to join Congresswoman Conway in her efforts to get San Francisco to pay their fair share and allow all Californians to enjoy Hetch Hetchy’s natural beauty.”
Rep. McClintock said, “Yosemite National Park was set aside in 1864 by legislation signed by Abraham Lincoln for the express purpose of ‘public use, resort, and recreation.’ I am pleased to join Congresswoman Conway in introducing legislation that will uphold this promise.”