Astro-smurf movements are what results when a tiny pressure group’s idea gets picked up by some wealthy oligarchal power brokers who feed it. It’s not exactly astro-turf, since it wasn’t conceived originally in a boardroom. It’s co-opted, turned to serve a purpose never foreseen by those who started it.

The hypocrisy of Dan Lungren (a Republican) and others who have taken up the restore Hetch Hetchy banner is profound.

The destruction of Hetch Hetchy dam, and the construction of the other water-works to compensate will be a phenomenally huge, utterly wasteful pork-barrel boondoggle in Dan Lungren’s new district. What is the cost of that by the time it’s done? What about knock-on effects?

What about the destruction of Central Valley and Northern California farming? Where do you think the water for San Francisco will come from if Hetch Hetchy dam is destroyed?

And what water baron in Sacramento will get filthy rich selling water at inflated prices that result?

What about the loss of 280 million kwh per year of green power? Yes, I’ve read the bit on the restore site about how it’s “not green because of habitat loss” garbage.

But that’s 280 million kwh per year that does not put carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Yeah, I did the math on how the “restore Hetch Hetchy” people calculate the value of that power. If you figure it out, the say it’s at 3.57 cents a kwh of value!

Excuse me? 3.57 cents a kwh is the cost to replace it? That’s a ridiculously low figure.

And – replacing that power WILL cost carbon. The hypocrites of Hetch Hetchy restoration will be fine with buying that from Mexico or Arizona, or some other “out of sight out of mind” jurisdiction. Yes, people, that’s what “Just say no to power generation!” means. Power companies quietly buy the difference from coal fired plants that are the low cost option. The Hetch Hetchy clowns will say, “Not my problem.” and wash their hands. (Actually, they won’t even wash their hands. They will just ignore it.

The bottom line on this astro-smurf movement is:

1. It is a raid on the federal treasury for a phenomenally huge make-work program, welfare for construction that will result in no net gain in utility value. Your tax dollars being wasted for no net return except some hiking trails.

2. It is a clandestine raid on farming and ranching water that will impact the backbone of California’s agriculture. Don’t kid yourself. The water difference will come from somewhere. More dams downstream, less flood control, etc.

3. It is a get-filthy-rich scheme for certain parties who have holdings which are currently only making them rather rich.

4. There is no net gain for anyone, except for a few idealists. There might be a few hikers a long time from now. But if this happens, do you really think it will help wildlife? Wildlife has adapted long ago, and taking away the Lake source they now use year-round will harm the wildlife there now. If the valley gets developed for people like Yosemite Valley is today, it will run off rare wildlife that now uses that area as a refuge. Many years ago in the 1980’s when wolverines were declared probably extinct up there, I saw two large wolverines playing on a ridge in the wilderness near Hetch Hetchy.

Yes, people, I am one of those environmentalists who ACTUALLY go back in there! I have a clue what I’m talking about, unlike the hordes of internet-idealists from New York City, Tampa, or even Sacramento, who have mostly never been there, and wouldn’t ever go to Hetch Hetchy if it was “restored” unless there was a road put in on the valley floor.
Here’s the real story. A bunch of self-appointed, economically illiterate, righteous people with nothing better to do, who have for the most part never been anywhere nearer Hetch-Hetchy than route 120 and never would go near it, have gotten support from a smarmy political cadre who smell huge profits for themselves at taxpayer and ratepayer expense. And it’s not even an environmental project – not really. Hetch Hetchy is now a lake, and nature has adapted to it.