The Battle over Hetch Hetchy: America's Most Controversial Dam and the Birth of Modern Environmentalism
Robert W. Righter
within the wake of the devastating 1906 earthquake and hearth, town of San Francisco desperately wanted trustworthy provides of water and electrical energy. Its mayor, James Phelan, pressed for the damming of the Tuolumne River within the newly created Yosemite nationwide Park, surroundings off a firestorm of protest. For the 1st time in American historical past, an important nationwide competition arose to safeguard and shield nature, led by way of John Muir and the Sierra membership, who sought to guard what they believed was once the suitable of all americans to adventure traditional attractiveness, fairly the excellent mountains of the Yosemite area. but the defenders of the valley, whereas opposing the production of a dam and reservoir, didn't intend for it to be maintained as desolate tract. as a substitute they recommended a unique type of development--the development of roads, inns, and an infrastructure to aid leisure tourism. utilizing articles, pamphlets, and broadsides, they effectively whipped up public opinion opposed to the dam. Letters from participants started to pour into Congress by way of the millions, and significant newspapers released editorials condemning the dam. The struggle went to the ground of Congress, the place politicians debated the worth of surroundings and the prices of western improvement. eventually, passage of the passage of the Raker Act in 1913 via Congress granted San Francisco definitely the right to flood the Hetch Hetchy Valley. A decade later the O'Shaughnessy Dam, the second one biggest civil engineering venture of its day after the Panama Canal, used to be accomplished. but clash persevered over the possession of the watershed and the earnings derived from hydroelectrocity. To at the present time the reservoir presents San Francisco with a natural and trustworthy resource of ingesting water and an immense resource of energy. even supposing the Sierra membership misplaced this conflict, the talk stirred the general public into motion on behalf of nationwide parks. destiny debates over dams and recovery basically validated the burgeoning power of grassroots environmentalism. In a story peopled by means of politicians and enterprise leaders, engineers and employees, preservationists and traditional electorate, Robert W. Righter tells the epic tale of the 1st significant environmental conflict of the 20th century, which reverberates to at the present time.
authentic executive company, the recent organization may possibly interact in full of life debate. This debate was once no longer continuously goal, and backyard was once now not above belittling the pursuits of farm fogeys for what he thought of the nation's larger want for primitive game. In a feeling the Yellowstone dam controversy represented the triumph of East and West Coast elites over the agricultural pursuits of people that needed to make a residing from their surroundings. As with Hetch Hetchy, the problem used to be an issue of priorities. have been.
Dams during the country are-like the population-maturing. a few are wasting their potency, costing an excessive amount of in upkeep whereas maintaining again extra silt than water. Many dams are in decline, and back, like doctors treating sufferers, hydraulic engineers spend their time checking at the of those buildings to guarantee the general public that their outdated age won't threaten downstream populations. With the decline within the usa of dam development, the prestige of the civil engineer.
Firs!"37 Embedded within the president's phrases was once a message. Muir needs to construct a constituency if he used to be to have any good fortune with the San Francisco juggernaut.To accomplish that will require greater than a neighborhood attempt. To rally nationwide curiosity, Muir known as on his previous pal Robert Underwood Johnson. He and Colby additionally appealed to J. Horace McFarland, a superb good friend of the nationwide parks and govt director of the yank Civic organization. either males might play an important roles within the coming struggle. McFarland.
Francisco the Hetch HetchyValley, the California revolutionary leaders suspected that it'll in basic terms be an issue of time sooner than the rising Pacific fuel and electrical corporation could seize the realm. If, however, San Francisco won regulate, it is going to sign an immense victory for public energy, leading to reduce charges for the folks. Senator George Norris of Nebraska cared little approximately water use or sport capability yet thought of public possession of the iteration and distribution of.
inside Lane's office-by the millions. younger Assistant Secretary Horace Albright and 3 different secretaries needed to answer. they discovered it essential to forge Lane's signature, after which clarify why Lane felt the furnish could be made. Later Albright stated, "I hated this task, for i used to be in sympathy with the protests.."26 Why used to be there such an outburst over a valley that, as Senator Reed famous, nobody knew? after all the leaflets and booklets contributed, yet that was once no longer the full resolution. wisdom.