The Raker Act was an act of the United States Congress that permitted building of the O'Shaughnessy Dam and flooding of Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, California. It is named for John E. Raker, its chief sponsor. The Act, passed by Congress in 1913 by the Wilson Administration, specified that because the source of the water and power was on public land, no private profit could be derived from the development. The plan for damming the valley was fought for years by John Muir. Construction of the dam was finished in 1923. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has persistently pointed out that San Francisco sold the power to PG&E, who then resold it back to the public at a profit, in violation of the act.
Harold Ickes of the Roosevelt Interior Department tried for many years to enforce the Raker Act, but he was unsuccessful. The San Francisco Bay Guardian has led a multi-year effort to publicize allegations of Raker Act violations. Donald Hodel, Secretary of the Interior under the Reagan Administration, made an attempt to remove the dam in the 1980s. In 2003 the George W. Bush Administration made an attempt to allocate funds for a study into the removal of the dam and the restoration of the Hetch Hetchy valley.
- Redmond, Tim. "Power Struggle" (PDF). San Francisco Bay Guardian.