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'Restore Hetch Hetchy' Group Begins SF Initiative Signature Drive

SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – A group calling itself "Restore Hetch Hetchy" is beginning a petition drive Wednesday to change how San Francisco delivers water to customers, possibly allowing the demolition of a dam that has long drawn criticism from environmentalists.

The initiative, which they're hoping to put on the November ballot, would require a long-term water plan that would aim to reduce harm to Yosemite National Park, the Toulumne River and the San Francisco Bay.

Mike Marshall, of Restore Hetch Hetchy said that the measure does not call specifically for the dismantling of the O'Shaughnessy Dam, but said that the city has never looked into it.

The group needs 9,700 valid signatures to get the measure on this fall's ballot.

KCBS' Bob Melrose Reports:

"There are seven major studies that have looked into it, including the State of California, the University of California at Davis, and the Environmental Defense Fund," said Marshall. "They all said that San Francisco can be protected, and they can still get reliable deliveries of water if we restore Hetch Hetchy Valley."

Mayor Ed Lee at the Chamber of Commerce Citybeat Breakfast Tuesday, scoffed at the idea that this would be about anything other than the dam.

"I just want to let you know that as insane as that is, " said Lee.

Marshall said that the group is aiming for 15,000 signatures as a buffer to ensure the measure makes the ballot.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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