From The WTF File: Dan Lungren (R-CA, 9 LCV Lifetime Score) Pushing To Restore Hetch Hetchy
The issue has been debated in Congress. In editorials, The New York Times and the Sacramento Bee have written approvingly of the idea. An initiative on San Francisco’s November ballot would require the city to create a new master plan for the water system based on draining the reservoir and returning Hetch Hetchy to the park service.
But none of that is providing political traction this election year for a conservative Republican who signed on to this environmental cause more than 20 years ago – Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Golden River. Lungren is locked in a tough re-election contest in his Sacramento-area district with Democrat Dr. Ami Bera, an Elk Grove physician. Bera, who almost beat Lungren two years ago, has scooped up endorsements from the Sierra Club and other environmental groups.
Meanwhile, Lungren began the campaign with an environmental rating of 9 percent on the League of Conservation Voters’ congressional scorecard. And while Lungren insists he is sincere about wanting to create a “second Yosemite” in Hetch Hetchy Valley, Democrats claim he is mainly interested in needling Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Dianne Feinstein.
“It’s very transparent” that Lungren’s professed interest in Hetch Hetchy is a political ploy, contended Josh Wolf, spokesman for Bera. “Nothing in his past shows him to care even a little bit about environmental issues,” Wolf said of Lungren. Hetch Hetchy will have “a minor effect on the race because no one believes he cares about the environment,” Wolf said.