Washington feeds foolish fantasy 

Bay Area environmentalists may take satisfaction that the Bush administration has called for a $2 billion increase in spending for the national parks.

But there is a hitch — maybe we should say a Hetch, as in the Hetch Hetchy Dam.

The salutary provision includes $7 million to keep alive the endless study of whether the dam, the source of our municipal water supply, should be drained.

Emptying the mammoth reservoir has been an environmentalist hobby horse since early in the last century, when the federal government approved filling the scenic valley adjacent to Yosemite.

The parlor plaything has been rocking more furiously in recent years as environmentalists living outside San Francisco and San Mateo counties dream of restoring the pristine wilderness.

A few years ago Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger formed a panel to study the dream’s feasibility. It looked like a clever ploy to keep the fantasy off the table even as it placated the fantasizers.

Alas, Washington wants to keep the monstrously impractical idea alive, meaning Bay Area officials need to be on guard.

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Staff Report

Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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