Hetch Hetchy Source Refused
Secretary Fisher of the Interior Department, Washington, D. C., has refused to grant the application of the city of San Francisco for the use of the Hetch Hetchy Valley as a reservoir site. The Secretary in his decision said that as a matter of broad public policy the natural condition of so important a natural curiosity as the Hetch Hetchy Valley should not be radically changed without the express authority of Congress. The advisory board of army engineers substantially recommended the use of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in a report submitted to the Secretary two weeks ago, but his decision says:
“I do not believe that the Secretary of the Interior should grant under the act of February 15, 1901, a permit in this case based upon the principal determining factor of the difference in cost between available alternative sources of water supply, whether the difference be $13,000,000 or $20,000,000, or even more than $20,000,000. If the Secretary were to do this he would in a certain important sense be placing a monetary value upon the preservation of the Hetch Hetchy Valley in its present natural condition. He would be determining that in order to save the expenditure of a certain sum of money by the people of San Francisco the people of the whole country should consent to change the present natural condition of the Hetch Hetchy Valley. Such action, however, should not be taken by the Secretary without a clearer authorization by Congress than I am able to believe was conscientiously intended when the act of 1901 was passed. In any event, such action with respect to so important a feature of a national park as the Hetch Hetchy Valley would constitute a precedent which should be most carefully guarded before it is established.” The Secretary, however, anounced that he continued both the application for the permit and the rule to show cause until application could be made by the city to Congress for such action as Congress might deem proper.