|Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir in Yosemite.|
The Sierra Club becomes an arm of the Democratic Party
- The Club abandons any pretence at neutrality and joins with Democrats to target a GOP Congressman who supports the Sierra Club position to save Yosemite National Park.
The Sierra Club is spending $625,000 to defeat a Republican lawmaker who has championed one of the environmental organization’s most cherished goals – draining the Hetch Hetchy reservoir in Yosemite National Park.
|GOP's Dan Lungren|
As a Conservative Conservationist I think this is an act of insanity. Supporting our parks should be non-partisan. The Sierra Club making themselves an arm of the Democrat Party hurts the conservation movement.
Campaign finance reports show that in September, the Sierra Club Independent Action super political action committee made several expenditures targeting Sacramento area GOP Congressman Dan Lungren of Gold River, who is locked in a tight race against Democrat leftist Dr. Ami Bera, an Elk Grove physician reports California Watch.
The club is paying for a hard-edged series of TV commercials and mailers in the district.
The ads accuse Lungren of “selling out California” and practicing “oily politics,” claiming he favors tax breaks for oil companies and offshore oil drilling.
Dan Lungren for Congress
Oddly, Lungren is one of a handful of officials who has backed the Sierra Club’s long campaign to breach the O’Shaughnessy Dam on the Tuolumne River and restore the Hetch Hetchy Valley in the Sierra Nevadas. Sierra Club founder John Muir wrote that the 8-mile-long alpine valley was almost as beautiful as Yosemite itself. It was inundated 89 years ago to provide water and hydroelectric power for San Francisco.
|Hetch Hetchy Valley before the dam.|
Lungren Campaign Manager Jeff Wyly called the club’s campaign against the lawmaker misleading and unfair. Lungren’s record on the environment is “very moderate,” he said, and the lawmaker deserved some consideration from the club because of his longstanding support on the Hetch Hetchy issue.
Moreover, he contended that it’s hypocritical for the club to criticize Lungren for taking political contributions from oil companies. He noted that records show that Bera owns stock in two oil companies, Chevron and Valero Energy.
“We wish the Sierra Club would actually look at who they’re supporting,” Wyly said.
As California Watch has reported, Lungren became interested in restoring Hetch Hetchy while serving in Congress during the Reagan administration.
Discover Hetch Hetchy - Yosemite's Hidden Twin
In 1987, then-Interior Secretary Donald Hodel proposed studying the idea, saying he hoped to create a priceless “second Yosemite” for the nation.
Then and now, the idea was bitterly opposed by San Francisco’s Democratic political leadership. Officials including U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi have warned that draining the reservoir would result in blackouts and water shortages.
Lungren has raised the idea of reclaiming the mountain valley repeatedly over his political career.
|California's 7th Congressional District west of Sacramento.|