Oversight Hearing on: The Proposal to Drain Lake Powell
Tuesday, September 23, 1997 at 10:00 A.M. in
Room 1324 Longworth HOB
We will hear, today, many facts and figures
concerning Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell. All are an important part of the discussion. But I want to add my own personal sense of the importance of Lake Powell. Standing on the shore of the lake, or gliding quietly
over the surface of the water deep in one of the many canyons, or flying over the majestic reach of Lake Powell you han,e an opportunity to experience a unique natural resource. From the quiet canyons, to secluded
vistas, to remote beaches, Lake Powell provides one of life's truly refreshing pleasures. 1, along with tens of millions, have had the chance to experience this beauty and grandeur. It would not exist and could not be
enjoyed if we had not had the foresight and courage to create thi,3 wonder. I for one would not support any step to destroy this beautiful gem that has meant so much to so many people.
Beyond its scenic and
recreational qualities, Lake Powell is a source of both clean hydropower as well as water storage. Draining Lake Powell would have negative environmental impacts, eliminate water stored for millions of people throughout
the southwest, and destroy the delicate balance of water rights between the upper and lower Colorado River basins. It would eliminate a renewable power source serving businesses and residences all over the western
United States. Among all sources of electric power today, hydropower provides an unusual ability to enhance the reliability of our electric system. And the hydropower lost would be replaced by burning fossil fuels. At a
time when the Federal government is looking to use our resources efficiently and to reduce our deficit, draining Lake Powell would result in lost revenues measured in the billions of dollars.
For decades, the water
laws governing the Colorado River have evolved to meet the competing needs of the western states. Those laws are based on the existence of Lake Powell as a major water storage resource. Elimination of this foundational
piece in the interlocking water puzzle would throw the entire Colorado River system into chaos.
The decision to build Glen Canyon Dam and create Lake Powell was made after many years. Years when informed people on
many sides of the debate had an opportunity to weigh the choices. When that process was finished huge commitments of time, money, and resources were made. History recorded the decision. People, states, businesses,
populations all relied on that decision. To those who did not like that decision, who wish to rewrite that history we can only say there is a time when all of us must let go. Glen Canyon Dam was built. The beautiful and
serene Lake Powell was formed. It fulfills the diverse needs of millions of Americans. Let us make the best use of this magnificent resource. It is a decision we can live with.