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1999 Friends of Lake Powell, Inc.
www.lakepowell.org
P.O. Box 7007
Page, AZ 86040 USA
(928) 645-2741  Fax: 928-353-2227

 

Panel #2 Q&A


Mr. HANSEN. Our next witnesses are Mr. Adam Werbach, President of the Sierra Club; Mr. Ted Stewart, Executive Director of the Utah Department of Natural Resources; Rita P. Pearson, Director of Arizona Department of Water Resources; Mark Whitlock, Executive Director of FAME. And David Wegner was asked by Mr. Werbach if he could sit with him. I have no objection to that if you want to bring him up.

 

Mr. DOOLITTLE. Mr. Chairman, are you going to ask unanimous consent to bring up Mr. Wegner, because I intend to object.
Mr. HANSEN. Well, I'll tell you what, we'll have him sit there, and we won't call upon him to testify until the third panel. Is that all right?
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Or even the fourth panel.
Mr. HANSEN. Mr. Wegner, if you would like to sit up there, we won't call upon you to testify until the third panel.
You all realize that in this setting there is some strong feelings on both sides of every issue. And they are most of the time in this area. So Mr. Werbach, we're pleased that you could join us today. And we'll turn the time to you for your testimony, sir.
STATEMENT OF ADAM WERBACH, PRESIDENT, SIERRA CLUB
Mr. WERBACH. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Chairman and members of the Subcommittee, my name is Adam Werbach, and I am the President of the Sierra Club. I thank you for the opportunity to appear before you today.
I represent the Sierra Club's 600,000 members across America in supporting the restoration of one of the most special places on earth, Glen Canyon, for our families and for our future.
Last November, the Sierra Club's national board of directors voted unanimously to advocate the draining of the Lake Powell Reservoir. This might have surprised some people, but it was a natural decision for the Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club has been protecting unique natural resources throughout the Colorado River basin for the last 50 years. Throughout our history, we have urged protection of the Green and Yampa Rivers and Dinosaur National Monument, the Animas River in Colorado. And we have always stood for the river canyons along the Colorado.

 

Flooding Glen Canyon was never a good idea. And the Sierra Club never thought that it was. But we had no idea how wrong it was at the time it was proposed. David Brower, who could not be here today because of health problems with his wife, Anne, called Glen Canyon the place that no one knew.
While the canyons of Dinosaur National Monuments were world famous, only a few people had experienced the transcendent natural majesty of Glen Canyon. Few people had rafted its waters. Few people had explored its mysterious side canyons. Few people experienced Glen Canyon's quite soulful magic.
Those who did experience Glen Canyon were lucky. I regret that I was born too late to see one of God's masterpieces. I hope my children will have that chance.
The sense of remorse spreads beyond the Sierra Club. Former Senator Barry Goldwater recently reflected in the PBS documentary ''Cadillac Desert'' that, quote, ''I'd vote against it. I have become convinced that, while water is important, it's just not that important,'' end quote.
We are simply not being good stewards of the river. By inundating Glen Canyon, we have eliminated some of the most productive habitat for native Colorado fish, many of which have been smothered forever from the face of this earth. The remaining species hang on as isolated and aging populations in only a few places along the river.
The Colorado River Compact promises more water to the basin States and to Mexico than what nature provides. And most of that water goes to water plants, not people. Many of these plants, like cotton, are not native to the desert, are heavy water users, and would not be grown at all if their cultivation was not supported by a complex web of tax breaks, subsidies, and Federal price supports.
Perhaps most appalling is that the Grand Canyon is suffering from the effects of Glen Canyon Dam. This dam has turned its water—its warm water native fish habitats cold, cutoff the supply of sediments needed to rebuild its beaches and shorelines, and prevented the cleansing seasonal floods.

 

We have only a short window of time to act to protect the native species of the Grand Canyon that are on the verge of extinction. Let us not be known as the generation that sacrificed the Grand Canyon.
In the not-too-distant future, Lake Powell, like all reservoirs, will be rendered useless for water storage and power by incoming silt. Between seepage into the canyon walls around Lake Powell and evaporation from this vast, flat high-elevation reservoir located in one of the driest areas in the country, water loss is estimated at almost one million acre feet of water per year according to the Bureau of Reclamation, enough for a city the size of Los Angeles. This is no way to run a river. And it's not the legacy to leave for our children.
Now, there is good news. Changes are possible without massive shortfalls in water or power. I would like to submit to the hearing record a study just completed by the Environmental Defense Fund entitled, ''The Effect of Draining Lake Powell on Water Supply and Electricity Production.''
Now, EDF used the Bureau of Reclamation's own hydrologic model for managing the Colorado River to assess the impacts of the river system with and without Lake Powell and even assumed growth in water use through the year 2050. The analysis shows that, quote: ''On average, the drained Lake Powell scenario reduces deliveries to the lower basin by only 91,000 acre feet per year, approximately 1.15 percent of all lower basin deliveries. The Colorado River's ability to meet upper basin obligations does not depend on whether Lake Powell is drained.''
Regarding hydropower, EDF finds that most, quote, ''most power users in the Southwest would not be affected,'' end quote. And the estimated cost to all Americans of restoring Glen Canyon by foregoing power revenues from the dam is only 37 cents a piece per year, a bargain for what we would get back.
EDF concludes that, quote: ''A comprehensive study of all effects of the proposal to drain Lake Powell is clearly warranted.''

 

We believe that these preliminary analyses show that draining Lake Powell is possible without major dislocations, that it's affordable, and that it's not too late to consider this option.
The power generation loss from Glen Canyon Dam can be replaced by natural gas or conservation elsewhere. And the cost spread over the rate base of the western power grade should not be prohibitive.
Today, society is reevaluating our past fascination with dams. Congress has directed that the Elwa Dam in Washington State be removed to restore the rivers. Reservoirs in the Colombia and Snake River basins are being proposed for drawdown to restore salmon runs. Glen Canyon Dam itself has been re-regulated by 1992 legislation.
The Sierra Club supports evaluating the tradeoffs and opportunities of draining Lake Powell through an environment assessment. We urge the administration to undertake this review. Regardless of where you stand on this issue, it clearly makes sense to examine the facts. The fate of the Grand Canyons is at stake. Our goal is to make the place no one knew the place that everyone knows about. We believe that the American public would choose in favor of Glen Canyon. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for beginning this conversation.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Werbach may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Werbach.
Mr. VENTO. Mr. Chairman, apparently the EDF study I would ask unanimous consent to be included in the record.
Mr. HANSEN. Without objection, so ordered.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. HANSEN. Ted Stewart, Executive Director, Department of Natural Resources, State of Utah. Mr. Stewart, we'll recognize you, sir.

 

STATEMENT OF TED STEWART, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, UTAH DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES
Mr. STEWART. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. In 1922, the Colorado River Compact was entered into between the seven States most affected by the Colorado River. An equitable apportionment of that river was agreed to after considerable and painful debate.
The Colorado River is divided into two basins, the upper and the lower. The upper basin consists of the States of Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. The lower basin States are Arizona, Nevada, and California.
That Compact requires that, in any 10-year period of time, 75 million acre-feet of water be delivered by the upper basin States at Lees Ferry, which is immediately below Glen Canyon Dam. And that is, if you will, the highest priority on the river, except perhaps the Mexican treaty obligation that has already been discussed here.
Unfortunately, the river does not work on averages, which apparently the EDF study is based on. The flow at Glen Canyon or, excuse me, Lees Ferry can vary from 5.8 million acre feet a year to over 24 million acre feet a year. Yet, the obligation to deliver 75 million acre feet in any 10-year period remains.
The storage in Lake Powell is absolutely essential for the ability of the upper basin States to meet that obligation to the lower basin States. If Lake Powell were drained, water would be taken from the taps along the Wasatch Front and Salt Lake City, because the Central Utah Project brings water from the Colorado River basin to the Wasatch Front.
The State of Utah cannot rely on its ability to—with the other upper basin states—meet that obligation to the lower basin States without Lake Powell storage. It is that simple.
In addition to the Central Utah Project, obligations to Native American tribes in the Uintah Basin and the eastern part of the State of Utah would be at risk. And, in addition, current plans to bring water to southwestern Utah, one of the fastest growing areas in the entire country, is dependent to a large extent on a proposed pipeline from Lake Powell to Washington County and other areas in Southwest Utah.

 

So, again, there is an absolute obligation to meet that 75 million acre-feet to the lower basin States. And it cannot be met without storage in Lake Powell.
Besides the water storage, secondary benefits have already been mentioned—the hydropower, the recreation. The State of Utah, along with the other Western States, are always told we have to free ourselves from this historical ''Old West'' mentality of being dependent upon natural resource jobs. Forget about mining. It's a historical oddity. Forget about grazing cattle and sheep. It's evil. Let's get rid of all of this oil and gas production, become dependent, or at least more dependent, on tourism.
Well, people in this part of the State of Utah have become dependent on tourism. They have accepted that challenge. And in excess of $400 million a year is generated by those millions of visitors that come to Lake Powell. Are we now going to remove that option for the people in Southern Utah as a way of sustaining an economic base?
Lake Powell (Glen Canyon Dam) is a natural resource, but it is also a public resource. It belongs to every one of us. And when any group, especially a group with the reputation and the influence of the Sierra Club, comes forward and makes a proposal, they have an obligation to answer certain questions, I believe.
One of those questions has to be: ''Where will Utah and the other upper basin States get its water if Lake Powell storage is removed?'' The population in the State of Utah is booming. We're currently slightly over 2 million people. In the next 20 years, it is estimated we will add another million people. Where will water come from if we are not allowed to develop our full Colorado River allocation?
It has been stated that we can put the water in Lake Mead. The Bureau of Reclamation just a few minutes ago indicated what a foolish notion that was. But if I may point out this, earlier this year, environmentalists brought a lawsuit to stop the increased storage at Lake Mead because of its impact on the Southwest willow flycatcher, an endangered species.

 

Lake Mead is currently rising because the Colorado River has begun to flow at heavier levels than it has over the last 6 or 7 years. The natural increase was going to destroy willow habitat. Environmentalists brought a lawsuit to require the Bureau of Reclamation to not allow that increased storage to happen.
The second question that I think needs to be answered is, ''Why is the recreation that may be available to an additional 15,000 to 20,000 people, which is what is estimated will be allowed to use Glen Canyon if it is restored, be superior to or a higher priority than that recreation that is currently available to about 3 million Americans?''
Additionally, ''Where will the replacement power come from?'' ''Where will the repayments to the Federal Treasury for the dam come from?'' '' Who will pay for the cost of restoration? Where will the millions and millions of tons of silt and other materials that are found in Lake Powell be moved to? And who will move them? At what cost to taxpayers or others?''
These are legitimate questions. And, again, my assertion is, before anyone comes and starts talking about the use, or the change in use, of any public resource, they have an obligation to answer these legitimate questions. And I believe those answers have not been forthcoming to this point. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Stewart may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Stewart.
Rita Pearson. I turn the time to you, madam.

STATEMENT OF RITA PEARSON, DIRECTOR, ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF WATER RESOURCES
Ms. PEARSON. Good morning, Chairman Hansen and members of the joint Subcommittees. My name is Rita Pearson, and I am the Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources.

 

Thank you for the opportunity to speak on behalf of the State of Arizona. My testimony today will focus on Arizona's primary concerns with the draining of Lake Powell, a proposal which we adamantly oppose. I've submitted written testimony that provides additional details. And I will refer to it periodically during my testimony.
I would also like to acknowledge the submission of testimony from Governor Jane Hull, Arizona's Governor, on behalf of the State of Arizona as well.
Draining Lake Powell cannot be seriously considered for many reasons. But the principal reason is because life as we know it here in the West would be impossible without Lake Powell Reservoir. It is one of the keystone facilities used in managing the Colorado River basin system and the hydroelectric power resources generated from it.
Draining Lake Powell would have serious impacts on water supplies in the lower basin States, Arizona, California, and Nevada, as well as creating environmental and economic hardships, specifically in the State of Arizona.
As has been mentioned a number of times this morning, Lake Powell can store 25 million acre feet or more of Colorado River water. That's 42 percent of the storage capacity of the entire Colorado River system.
Lake Powell is the upper basin's insurance policy, because with it, the upper basin cannot guarantee annual deliveries to the lower basin of 7 1/2 million acre feet pursuant to the 1922 Interstate Compact.
The Colorado River is one of the most erratically flowing rivers in the United States. It has flows as high as 23 million acre feet in 1 year and as low as 5 million acre feet in another.
With my testimony today, I submitted a chart which shows annual inflows into the Colorado River above Glen Canyon Dam. You will see that it's a roller coaster. No 2 years are alike. In fact, talking about averages as we have heard today from the Sierra Club is absolutely meaningless without a reservoir system. And because of this, if the storage capabilities of Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell are eliminated, future Colorado water supplies in the lower basin States will be critically jeopardized. It will be a water resource feast or famine.

 

Seventy percent of the natural inflows flowing into Lake Powell occur during the months of May, June, and July. The only way we can capture the runoff is through reservoir storage. Without Lake Powell, the Bureau of Reclamation's modeling indicates that shortages in the lower basin could occur as early as the year 2006, almost 20 years earlier than had been projected. And I note, we are projecting shortages today without the elimination of Lake Powell. But eliminating that storage capacity reduces supplies and makes shortage a possibility much sooner.
Arizona is particularly vulnerable to shortage. As a result of the 1968 Colorado River Basin Project Act, the water supply through the central Arizona project into central and southern Arizona is the lowest priority water in the lower basin.
During such a shortage, as a result of Lake Powell drainage, the CAP could see diversions reduced to zero as early as 2051. Without Lake Powell, as I mentioned, as early as 2006, the probability of shortage jumps to 25 percent or once in every 4 years. By 2051, shortages could occur one-third of the time.
We have noted that 600,000 acre feet of evaporative storage disappears every year from Lake Powell. That is a cost—that's the insurance premium that we buy in order to guarantee 27 million acre feet of storage. That is a very important storage capacity for the lower basin system.
To give you an idea of how important the CAP is to Arizona, it provides water to Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima Counties where 3 1/2 million acre people live. More than 2.4 million people live in Maricopa County alone, which is the home to Phoenix, Arizona, the sixth largest city in the United States.
Currently, the majority of our water is delivered to agriculture, but with each passing year, more and more of that water is delivered to cities, cities that do not have the flexibility of retiring ag. land. There is an ongoing demand that does not cease regardless of drought conditions.

 

I would also point out, the Southern Nevada Water Authority would be greatly jeopardized as well. Their intake pump is set at 7.3 million acre feet of storage in Lake Mead. If all of the demand is drawn off of Lake Mead, we would have serious shortages in both Southern California and Southern Nevada.
The drought referred to earlier between 1986 and 1993 took 20 million acre feet of storage out of the system. If that was borne solely by Lake Mead, Nevada's intake pumps would have been left high and dry. Twenty million people are served by supplies in the lower basin by water from the Colorado River.
In addition to drainage problems from Lake Powell, that would also cause problems from Lake Mead. Annual storage in Lake Mead would be reduced as well. And you would have to manage the system either for a drought condition or for a flood condition. In other words, if you're managing for a drought, you have to maximize the storage in Lake Mead. But when the flood hits, you have nowhere to put the water. It goes down streams. And downstream communities like Yuma, Bull Head City, Lake Havasu City would be greatly jeopardized.
In addition to that, you have more than 30 years of sediment trapped behind Glen Canyon Dam. The estimates are that between 65,000 and 100,000 cubic yards of sediment are annually gathered behind Glen Canyon Dam.
When Lake Powell dries out, the sediment will evaporate. It will move into the air. We will have air quality problems throughout the West as well as water quality problems from the selenium and heavy metals in the sediment.
Three years ago, the lower basin States entered into a multistate State habitat conservation plan. That plan is designed to protect over 100 plant and wildlife species dependent upon the lower Colorado.
Our ability to protect those species is directly dependent upon the water supply. If we lose Lake Powell, all of our flexibility in the system is managed off of Lake Mead. We will be unable to protect those species as we have planned to in joint agreements with the Interior Department, environmental groups, and Indian tribes as well. Mr. Chairman, I see I am out of time. I have a bit more testimony, but I would be happy to stop.

 

Mr. HANSEN. How much time do you need?
Ms. PEARSON. Probably another 2 minutes.
Mr. HANSEN. I'll give you an additional 2 minutes.
Ms. PEARSON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Let me briefly touch upon the visitation at the Glen Canyon recreational area, including Lake Powell. We've talked about 3 million people a year visiting there. The canyon is now open in a way it never was before. As has been talked about by the previous panel, it has the second largest number of overnight stays of any park in the national system. Forty-two thousand people annually float the river. Seventy thousand now visit Rainbow Bridge, a national monument that was not readily accessible because it was 6 miles into very difficult territory.
The annual economic impact to the tiny Arizona communities like Marble Canyon and Vermillion Cliffs that are associated with the Lees Ferry fishery are estimated to be $5 million alone. Draining Lake Powell would shut down the blue ribbon trout fishery known as Lees Ferry. And 8,000 people reside in Page, Arizona, where tourism and the Navajo Generating Station are the principal types of employment there.
Mr. Chairman, I could go on and on about the impacts of draining Lake Powell. But let me first and finally point out that there is an old saying that they use in the West, that water is just around the corner. It is just over the next hill. That is no longer the case in the West. We have identified and quantified all of the available supplies of water. We are facing shortages today without the draining of Lake Powell. To exacerbate it would be irresponsible. I would like to suggest that we use history as a guidepost, not a hitching post. Thank you.
[The preparerd statement of Ms. Pearson may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. HANSEN. Thank you very much. Our next witness is Mark Whitlock. He's accompanied by Shelia Reed, Project Manager, Environment Protection Department of FAME Renaissance. Mr. Whitlock.

 


STATEMENT OF MARK WHITLOCK, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, FAME RENAISSANCE
Mr. WHITLOCK. Mr. Chairman, members of the Subcommittee, ladies and gentlemen, we appreciate the opportunity to be here today to share some of our concerns we have regarding the Sierra Club and the Glen Canyon Institute's proposal to drain Lake Powell.
My name is Mark Whitlock. And I serve as a minister of First A.M.E. Church led by Dr. Cecil L. Murray. We have some 14,000 members. And we are all on one accord with this issue.
We believe that water is important. We believe it sustains life, offers new life, provides a preservation of life. Thus, we believe we must retain Lake Powell. Certainly, as the city of Los Angeles grows by some 210,000 people per year, and possibly by the year 2020, we will have some 21.5 million people in the city of Los Angeles, State of California.
We're concerned that if there is not enough water available, then we will have to go out and spend an enormous amount of money finding the supplies for them. Clearly, Lake Powell provides that surplus, that water needed to sustain life.
If we have to spend more money on new water supplies, then there will be a cost incurred for that research, that new project. And that cost, unfortunately, reflects back on our ratepayers or our community, our constituents, whose water bills will increase.
Well, that's where the rubber meets the road for us. Clearly, in south central Los Angeles, where we suffer from the poverty of money, an unemployment rate of anywhere from 16 percent, in some areas of our community as high as 50 percent, a poverty rate in our community of 25 percent. So any increase in water, any increase in bills takes food out of the mouths of our children. So we—we clearly believe water is important. Thus, Lake Powell is important.

 

Why not look at another program? Why not look at another way to provide resources to continue working within the system? We support a project that we work closely on with the Metropolitan Water District and other agencies within the city of Los Angeles. That project, we call it a water conservation program.
Most toilets, shower heads in the city of Los Angeles are rather antiquated. One flush could result in a loss of 9 to as much as 16 gallons of water. Clearly, if you take a piece of tissue and put it down the drain, 16 gallons of water gone.
Well, a partnership with the Metropolitan Water District results in a savings of water. Five years ago, they offered us the opportunity to exchange the old guzzler, 9 to 16 gallons per flush for a new guzzler, 1.6 gallons of water per flush.
We thought it was a bit strange to offer that program to First A.M.E. Church, an organization that has allowed certainly minister—allowed Martin Luther King to come over our pulpit, Mandela, even President Clinton has offered a few words over our pulpit. We thought it a bit strange to talk about toilets over the pulpit at First A.M.E. Church.
Well, we did support the program. And they paid a small fee for that program. And out of that program, we were able to hire men, women who were unemployed or underemployed, some 30 of them, to be exact. And they started exchanging toilets.
The agency wanted just 100 a week. These men, women started exchanging toilets to the tune of a thousand a week. And within a 2 1/2-year period, we exchanged some 84,000 toilets, resulting in a savings of 68,710 acre feet of water. They saved some billions of gallons of water. A program that works, a program that works within the system, certainly not the extreme of eliminating Lake Powell.
So, today, we support the retention of Lake Powell for all the right reasons. And we challenge, certainly, other agencies to develop a partnership, a partnership that saves water, a partnership that creates jobs, lowers water bills, and at the same time, preserves the Colorado River and certainly supports the continuation of Lake Powell.

 

We thank you for the opportunity to be here today. We certainly welcome any questions that you may have, Shelia Reed and I. I'm Mark Whitlock. Thank you so much.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Whitlock may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Whitlock. I appreciate the testimony of all of our witnesses. We'll now go to the Committee for questions of the witnesses. I would like to hold you to the 5 minutes, if I could. We'll start out with Mr. Doolittle.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Ms. Pearson, I would like to refer to your—the graph you supplied with your testimony. If we were to drain Lake Powell and thus Hoover Dam and Lake Mead would become the main regulating reservoir in the Colorado River system, I'm just wondering, looking at this, it looks like in 1979 that you had 17 million acre feet. And yet, in 1980, there were 5 million acre feet for a difference of 12 million. And then you go into, it looks like, 1981, you had 8 million; and then 1982, you had 23 million for a difference of 15. I just can't imagine how would you ever purport to manage this—your manager would have to be wrong at least half the time, I would think.
Ms. PEARSON. That's correct, Congressman. There is no perfect predictor out there. And so that's why we have the reservoir system. That is the only way we can manage this system.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Well, that would be a very substantial drawback, even for those who are arguing that this is a desirable to go to one. Certainly, this would seem to be irrefutable evidence that there would be no way you could ever manage. And if—I assume flood control would get the highest priority amongst the multiple uses. And if that's the case, then you're going to create plenty of flood reservation storage in case you get a year of 23 million acre feet flowing in as opposed to 5 million like the year before. Let me ask Mr.—is it Werbach? Is that——

 

Mr. WERBACH. Werbach.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Werbach. Thank you. Mr. Werbach, how do you react to this chart?
Mr. WERBACH. Well, right now what we're asking for is solely an environmental assessment of this proposal. And all these things would need to be looked at very carefully. What this would require would be the Bureau to be a more effective manager of those water resources.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. So you're saying—I'm sorry. I was distracted. But you're indicating you're just calling for the study rather than making a claim that we can live with this?
Mr. WERBACH. The Sierra Club advocates the draining of the lake. But we believe right now we need to look at a lot of the facts that a lot of the other witnesses raised right here, to look into the issue and to examine them and to begin a conversation with society to see where we come out.
We believe that, after looking at the facts, people will believe this is the right course of action. But we wouldn't be so bold to say that all those facts are already in hand.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Well, given the testimony you've heard today, which I guess you could say we've begun the conversation, does this concern you, the ability to properly manage the river when you tear down the—one of the main reservoirs on it and have this kind of annual fluctuation like history shows we've had?
Mr. WERBACH. That would certainly be one of the issues that we'd look into.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. OK. You state in your testimony in the not too distant future Lake Powell, like all the reservoirs, would be rendered useless for water storage and power by incoming silt. What do you mean when you say ''the not too distant future?''

 

Mr. WERBACH. Well, if we use the Bureau's figures of 700 years for total filling of the silt of the dam, in about 250 years the outlet tubes would be inundated. And at that point, the dam's effective use as a power generation plant would be essentially useless.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. So you had in mind, then, their figures of say 250 to 500 years.
Mr. WERBACH. If we use those figures. There are other figures that suggest that those numbers would be between 70 and 125 years.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. All right. But, I mean, I'd say that 250 years is a fair way into the future.
Mr. WERBACH. Well, it depends on what your level of horizon is. Two hundred fifty years for the destruction of one of the canyons that took millions of years to create is really not that long. In a geologic sense, 250 years is really nothing.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Well, that is longer than we've been a country. It's long for Americans. Maybe it's not long for Europeans. Let me ask you this: If we do tear it down so that we have to have more storage, then, would the Sierra Club support the inundation of additional river miles that are currently upstream of Lake Mead in order to compensate for the loss of storage behind Glen Canyon Dam?
Mr. WERBACH. Well, we don't believe that you should fill up Lake Mead to an extraordinary level that would be unsafe. We wouldn't suggest that. And let me clarify one thing. The Sierra Club is not suggesting that we tear down Glen Canyon Dam. We are only suggesting that we bypass it.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. OK. Bypass it. That is true. Well, then, you've heard the testimony that it has to go somewhere. Wouldn't that be a necessary consequence of bypassing Glen Canyon Dam that you would have to store more water in Lake Mead?

 

Mr. WERBACH. Well, some of the water would be used to fulfill our treaty obligations to Mexico. The water would flow through.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Well, our treaty obligation to Mexico is, what, 1 1/2 million acre feet? So I mean, out of the total number of acre feet in this system, that's relatively small. So we're going to have to put the water someplace. And I guess I'm just trying to see if the Sierra Club is going to advocate this, and if we were to act on it, then what would your complete proposal be? How would we provide for the storage needs? I mean, would you support the construction of a dam someplace else to store it?
Mr. WERBACH. Let me refer back to the EDF study that I have quoted. Let me read a paragraph from it. Let me use something that I cutoff from my testimony because I was running a little long. Information prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation itself in July 1997 addresses the issue of draining Lake Powell and says that the difference between the average annual inflow to the reservoir and current upper basin use is, quote, enough to satisfy the Colorado River Compact obligation of 75 million acre feet for 10 years to the lower basin without needing the storage of Lake Powell.
In addition, recovered evaporation losses from Lake Powell would help to meet any potential deficiency in the Mexican treaty obligation. That's in this document that was prepared by the Bureau of Reclamation.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. My question to you is—can I have a couple extra minutes?
Mr. HANSEN. The gentleman is recognized for two additional minutes.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Thank you. How are we—since—I mean, yes, an average is just a theoretical number given the way the Colorado River actually works, as demonstrated by this chart. But how would we practically manage the river for flood control, water supply, power generation, to name three important things, not to mention the recreation and environmental aspects, but how would you manage those three things without having more storage?

 

Mr. WERBACH. It is a river, and rivers flow. It's only our obstructions on the river that have stopped and made those impoundments. Now, as I said, you would be able to have enough water to fulfill the Compact obligations, but it would be letting more water flow through the river.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Well, yes, it's a river, and rivers flow. I think we'll all stipulate to that. The problem is sometimes they flow very slowly, and sometimes they flow in raging torrents. And the Colorado River is an extreme example from that. And it can go from one extreme in 1 year literally to the other in the next year.
So how do the river managers manage this river in such a way to meet the power and the water and the flood control needs? I don't see how they could possibly do it without having more reservoir storage?
Mr. WERBACH. There is plenty of water. The question is who gets it and how much they pay for it.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Well, sometimes there's too much water. Sometimes there's not enough. You heard testimony from Mr. Stewart that the upper basin will be without water in a sustained period of drought, which happens every few years. I think we heard testimony there was a 6-year drought for a while. Now, we've got El Nino hitting us in the West this year.
So I just—I don't want to be argumentative with you, but I mean rivers flow. That's exactly the point. That's why we have—you're going to tear down—not tear down. You're going to bypass the second largest reservoir on this Colorado River system. And when you do that, you're going to tremendously limit the flexibility to manage for all these other important values.
So telling somebody that has lost his house that, while rivers flow, or somebody that's, you know, on water rationing because they have flowed out trying to have enough reservation for flood storage, it turned out to be a miscalculation, I mean, that doesn't really satisfy for us.

 

I think you're going to—before you can move your idea, you're going to really have to come up with some answers for what you do when you eliminate essentially 27 million acre feet of storage that we presently have behind Glen Canyon Dam. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HANSEN. The gentleman from Minnesota.
Mr. VENTO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I was not here earlier. I just wanted to make the observation that I think that this hearing sort of underlines the importance of land use decisions we make on the Committee. And that, very often, they are almost irreversible in terms of the consequences they have.
In this instance, as I look at the witness, the list of witnesses, both in recreation and economic and other factors, I mean, really, this dam has set down a land use pattern—a land use pattern in terms of population and use that is very difficult to change.
So it's one thing to look at the physical geography of this and the changed view of an individual, Mr. Brower, and then others to try and talk about how this is going to be or could be accomplished, because it makes it very difficult in terms of turning that away.
Of course I visited this site, realized tremendous recreation park designations have gone on based on the fact there is a reservoir there. It's one of those things we designate, I guess, parks for recreation purposes for certain.
So I think, though, as we look ahead, I mean, there may be physical or other problems that do exist with this. I realize there is some points about—I mean, it is an efficient use. This water isn't going to be running into the ocean. It goes someplace before. And, as you said, for safety or for other reasons, if you were just doing this for safety reasons, you probably would have a much different type of facility than you have. And a lot of it is lost, as they point out through, evaporation. And the argument here is whether it's a million or half million acre feet that are lost and treaty obligations and other issues.

But I think it's useful to have the hearing in the sense that—and further review of the issue. I don't know what—if, in fact, there is a real interest in doing an environmental impact statement or a study. I note that there is a volunteer group that is going to go ahead and move with that.
In fact, we have begun to modify in 1992 the policy path for the—for how the water levels in Glen Canyon were, in fact, managed, to look at the restoration of some of the beaches and some of the other. Because, you know, it dramatically has changed the whole system, the geography and the ecosystems down river. And I don't know the answers to this. It's pretty much if you just say you're going to bypass it and go without it, you left behind millions of people or more—millions of people and rate users and others that have obviously a vested interest. They have come to depend upon this. And so you clearly cannot move, you know, in that direction without—without considering what the consequences are.
And I think, at this point, just as when Don Hodel, Secretary of Interior, I think was Secretary, then came in and said, let us take Hetch Hetchy down or bypass it or drain it. It was another question.
But I think there is a growing realization of some of the consequences of these type of structures of an age—I don't know what the age is on this one. I know that, looking at Elwa Dam, which had been there for—since the thirties, 50, 60 years, it looks like it would stand there another 100 to me the way it looked. It looked like it was in pretty good shape. Yet we're not using it. That's a much smaller scale problem than the problem that is clearly being presented here, a much different purpose, a much different use.
But these are expensive to maintain. They represent some serious problems in terms of what the consequences are as we look today. So, you know, one of our jobs is to get new information, to get new knowledge, and to translate it into public policy. That's what we do here. That's what we're supposed to do.

 

And, obviously this—there is certain—you know, recognizing our errors, and we all make them, I guess. If we pass perfect laws, we wouldn't have to be meeting here every year. But we know that they're imperfect.
But I think it's a viable question to raise. Everyone raises questions about what happens to the population of the West if you do this. This is a legitimate concern for certain as much as they might think that we're—you know, most of us are concerned about that. We want to do reasonable and cognitive things.
So I think that's the spirit in which I take this. I understand that, right now, there are all sorts of technical questions we could ask about Glen Canyon, whether California is overappropriating water, whether Colorado is overappropriating water, whether there are treaty problems with Mexico. I think the answer to those are all yes.
So this is going to be an ongoing issue in terms of where we go, and the physical condition of this dam, whether it could meet the expectations and all the goals that it has. But we ought to be looking at alternatives. And certainly, you know, one of them may be looking at what—how we can better manage this to address some of the concerns and what we're going to do in the future in terms of this infrastructure as it ages. It won't happen—I don't know if it's going to be 250 years. I would say more like 50 years. So I'm really scaring Mr. Doolittle.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you, Mr. Vento.
Mr. VENTO. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HANSEN. The gentleman from Utah, Mr. Cannon.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. Werbach, you suggested or said very clearly that the Sierra Club advocates the draining of Lake Powell and that your purpose now is to start a dialog. It seems to me that the chart that Mr. Doolittle is talking about which shows the annual variation in runoff in the Colorado River above Glen Canyon Dam is one of the most significant elements in any kind of decision to change the usage of the dam or eliminate the dam.

 

And my normal course is to ask short questions and add to a record. What I would really like to do is give you some time to talk about that chart, those variations in yearly flow, and how, in this very complicated set of issues, you expect that to sort itself out.
I've truly been trying to understand what your position is. I've made a list of the various goals that you would like to change or balances that you would like to change. But it seems to me that, in the end, you come down to how you control the water that runs through it and what you do.
Would you mind just taking a few minutes? What I would like to do is give you the time to advocate that position. Whether this discussion goes on any further really is going to turn on that, I think.
Mr. WERBACH. I appreciate the opportunity. Once again, you know, there are very serious environmental issues at stake here. The fate of the Grand Canyon is at stake here. And we have issues that we need to talk about. What we're advocating now is that we look into these issues through an environmental assessment and examine what's happening. What I would like to do is turn it over to Dave Wegner, who is more familiar with these issues specifically to respond to your question. Dave.
Mr. CANNON. That would be fine, but let me just point out that you're advocating draining the lake. That's what the position of the Sierra Club is and that's what you voted on. And so I would very much like to hear from Mr. Wegner what—how the control of the extreme flows fits into the purposes that you're trying to accomplish here.
Mr. WEGNER. Well, Mr. Congressman, my name is Dave Wegner, and I am from Flagstaff, Arizona. And I'm a member, Vice President of the Glen Canyon Institute. And I'm here today to help with some of the technical issues——
Mr. DOOLITTLE. Mr. Chairman——
Mr. WEGNER. [continuing] that was just referred to.

 

Mr. DOOLITTLE. Mr. Chairman, I do not wish to offend feelings here. I thought Mr.—he was on the fourth panel. Is he now going to join the second panel?
Mr. HANSEN. Mr. Doolittle had objected to Mr. Wegner coming on to the second panel. And I allowed him to sit there if Mr. Werbach needed some information from him. No one objected to your objection, so I respectfully point out that you can respond to that in the following panel, third and fourth panel. I apologize. We don't want to offend you in any way. We do want to hear your testimony.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you. I'll look forward to that. If I can just then redirect my question to Mr. Werbach. You may just take the time to set forth, not the emotion behind this, but how the various factors that you're concerned about fit together. Let me just list them for you.
You're concerned about evaporation. The water presumably could be used to go into the Sea of Cortez. Concern about the danger of dam failure. The esthetics of the canyon are a major issue here, and I think may be the most important issue. And I'm not sure. I would like you to tell me that.
The concern with what is happening with the Sea of Cortez on the other side, this water is not likely to make it to the Sea of Cortez anyway except in those years when we have dramatic runoff. And the lost habitat versus some of the gained habitat that you have there, those are issues that I would like to hear you address for a few minutes.
Mr. WERBACH. Mr. Congressman, what I would like to say to you is that I am not an expert on the specifics of all these issues. That is why we do have a staff at the Sierra Club who works on the issues as well as experts who are on the other panels for you.
Mr. CANNON. But I'm not asking technical questions. We can get back to Mr. Werbach—I'm sorry, Mr. Wegner, when he is on. What I would like from you—what I want to do is just give you the opportunity to make—to present just a few more points, make a cogent case as to why we should actually begin the dialog that you're asking for.

 

Mr. WERBACH. Absolutely. Well, let's speak about, first, the native fish populations in the Grand Canyon. We're already seeing die-off of isolated and aging populations, species like the humpback chub and the sucker fish that are in the Grand Canyon. The cold water that comes from Lake Powell, about 47 degrees, is too cold to support those fish. Now we need to figure out some way too deal with that.
A few years back, we tried a controlled release into the Grand Canyon to simulate a flood. Well, now our experience is that this was largely not a long-term success. We did not succeed in restoring the Grand Canyon, its beaches, and its native fish habitat. So we need to look at other options.
And when the EIS was done, when the EIS was completed for the Glen Canyon Dam, it really didn't look at the option of draining the lake. It didn't look at the option there because it was deemed infeasible at the time.
But with new information that we see, both in terms of the evaporation rates, which would seem to portend that, if there is more water available if you did not have this dam, then it would seem likely that we should take the chance to look at this issue and reflect and talk about it as a society and see what we come up with.
The Sierra Club has its position. But I understand that it will take longer for people to look at this and see the science and make these determinations on their own.
Mr. CANNON. Mr. Chairman, my time is almost up. Can I ask unanimous consent for additional minutes?
Mr. HANSEN. The gentleman is recognized for two additional minutes.
Mr. CANNON. Thank you.
Mr. HANSEN. You're welcome.
Mr. CANNON. What I would like to hear, and maybe Mr. Wegner later can do this or someone else may ask. I have asked sort of the general question, why should we continue the dialog? And what I've heard is that there are a couple of endangered species. This is the opportunity. This is the public forum for you to have the opportunity to say why.

 

I think the issues are much, much broader than that, especially when you consider that it's pretty clear now that the humpback chub is stable. The squaw fish was not common, even before the dam was in place. You have many other fish, as you alluded to. So but I think studies show that they're not dwindling particularly. On the other hand, you now have some endangered species that are thriving in the current habitat.
So I would just, as a plea, I'm sitting here trying to understand this. Now, I used some strong language earlier. Before the dam was done, I was very young, but it was a matter of grave concern because I love those canyons. Now many people get to see those canyons. They do it in boats instead of hiking, but they do see the beauty of those canyons, and it's a thrilling, wonderful experience.
I'm really trying to understand why we should have a dialog on the issue. And I hope that in the future, as others will ask questions, you will take the opportunity to sort of give me the broader picture on how it balances together. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HANSEN. The gentlelady from the Virgin Islands.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I first would like to thank the panelists for their testimony. And I would like to commend the First A.M.E. Church for the programs that they have undertaken on behalf of their congregation and the community.
Mr. Werbach, both your testimony and the written testimony of Mr. Brower points to a frightening picture of what could happen in the area served by Lake Powell and the dam. You also say in your testimony that we're not being good stewards of this resource. Do you see that we can avoid some of these untoward outcomes by being better stewards rather than by draining the lake?
Mr. WERBACH. Well, I think the consequence of being better stewards is draining the lake. And at first blush, it may seem like a strange idea. But the thing was not actually evaluated. There was not—the dam was built before NEPA, before the National Environmental Policy Act. So an environmental review was not done for the dam. In fact, the NEPA review was just nonexistent.

 

So what we need to do was to look back and see it right now. Just because a mistake was made in the past and it would be difficult to change, I don't believe that's reason enough to say, well, let's ignore it. It would be difficult to do so, we should not look at this.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Thank you. You've partly answered my second question, and you've really answered it several times in responding to several other questions from other members from the Committee and Subcommittee.
But I did come here thinking—and as I listened to the earlier testimony, I thought we were talking about the Sierra Club having voted to drain the lake. But it's become increasingly clear, and I think it's an important distinction to make that what the Sierra Club actually did ask for was an environmental assessment; is that correct?
Mr. WERBACH. The Sierra Club did vote to advocate the draining of the lake, because we felt that was the way to began the conversation and to put it on people's radars. But right now what we're asking people to do is look at the issue, to begin an environmental assessment.
I understand the Glen Canyon Institute is interested in performing it if the administration is not.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. I'm sorry, so you say the club is willing to do the environmental assessment themselves?
Mr. WERBACH. The Glen Canyon Institute is busy trying to raise some funds to do such an assessment. But of course, we would prefer if the administration were willing to pay for it and would feel more comfortable with the numbers and the science that would come out of it.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Thank you for your answers. Are any of the other panelists objecting? Do you oppose having the environmental assessment done? I understand that you may oppose the draining of the lake, but are you also in opposition to the environmental assessment?

 

Mr. WHITLOCK. Congresswoman Green, we feel that, clearly, we must leave Lake Powell alone. But as we examine Lake Powell and the efficacy, efficiency of draining or not draining, I think we would like to remind the panel and certainly our committee that there are innovative programs that are available, practical water conservation programs that deal with resource management.
And I think if we focus time and certainly our dollars at resource management, then we don't have to go to the extreme of considering draining the beautiful Lake Powell. Our water conservation program creates jobs. But at the same time, it saves the Colorado River. And that's the real goal here I think. And I end with that.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. Would anyone else like to respond?
Ms. PEARSON. Congresswoman, I would have to agree with Mr. Whitlock and add that we live in a time of very, very many priorities. And unless we hear a proposal that has merit, why spend taxpayer dollars on something that has not yet been justified. I think the burden is on them. And if a private organization wants to fund the study, they're welcome to do so. But as a taxpayer, I would not appreciate having my money spent that way.
I think we know enough and we are capable of modifying the system and protecting endangered species today without conducting an additional study and a proposal that can go nowhere and cost millions.
Ms. CHRISTIAN-GREEN. I thank you for your answers.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. Mr. Shadegg from Arizona.
Mr. SHADEGG. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I'll try not to be too intense about this. But I find what happened here is rather shocking. Let me begin by thanking Rita Pearson for her thoughtful testimony and for all of her work and to ask unanimous consent that the photographs of Lake Powell which she brought and the other material which she has brought here which show the beauty of that lake and which reveal, quite frankly, that a tremendous amount of the beauty of Glen Canyon is, in fact, not only not inundated, but as seen now by between somewhere between 3 and 4 million people per year and that it is a tremendous asset that those all be included in the record with unanimous consent.

Mr. HANSEN. Without objection.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Werbach, I have to tell you that I am stunned by this proposal. I am stunned by some of the remarks that you make. And I'm a little concerned about what's happening here today.
Your testimony concludes with what I consider to be a kind of a reasonable proposal. ''The Sierra Club supports evaluating the tradeoffs and opportunities and through an environmental assessment.'' Perhaps no one could disagree with that. But I want the record precisely clear that the board of directors of the Sierra Club voted not to study, but rather to drain Lake Powell. That's correct, isn't it?
Mr. WERBACH. To advocate the draining; that's correct.
Mr. SHADEGG. And the mission statement of the Glen Canyon Institute specifically proposes draining, not studying, draining Lake Powell; is that correct?
Mr. WERBACH. I can't speak to the mission statement.
Mr. SHADEGG. It does. And I would like to put it in the record without objection, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HANSEN. Is there objection? Hearing none, so ordered.
[The information referred to may be found at end of hearing.]

Mr. SHADEGG. I also would like to point out that the Sierra Club did not, in fact, though your testimony suggest you represent their 600,000 members, did not, in fact, survey its members before taking this involvement. In point of fact, the President of the Utah chapter unequivocally stated in the press that she opposes this idea and that she was not consulted. Are you aware of that, and do you acknowledge it?

 

Mr. WERBACH. The board of directors of the Sierra Club represents the membership of the Sierra Club. We're elected by the membership in an annual election. And the Utah Chapter of the Sierra Club advocates the studying of this issue as well.
Mr. SHADEGG. You answered neither of my questions. Are you aware that she said she opposes it and the chapter opposes it? And you, I believe, just did concede that the membership did not vote on the issue.
Mr. WERBACH. No, the membership did not vote on this issue.
Mr. SHADEGG. Let me turn quickly to the point that Mr. Doolittle brought out. I would just simply say, with regard to your comment and your testimony, which I've read in many other places in the press, that in the not too distant future, Lake Powell will be filled and useless is, quite frankly, I think misleading the American people who read those comments in the press because, by your own admission, not to distant future is, in the early estimates, 250 years. By the long estimates of the Bureau, it's 700 years; and by the gentleman who manages the dam, it will be 500 years before you will even have to dredge to open up the intake tubes.
Let me turn to another comment. In the Salt Lake City paper in this year, you were quoted as saying in an article in the Salt Lake Tribune on Sunday, August 3rd: If the Club succeeded, succeeded in draining Lake Powell, it would, quote, ''take 10 years for the lake to drain and another 25 years for Glen Canyon to be cleaned up and restored to its former beauty.''
What basis do you have for the claim that it would be completely restored or would be restored to its former beauty in just 25 years?
Mr. WERBACH. Well, in 1992, there was a significant drawdown of the lake. And what we did see was that a lot of the natural features of Glen Canyon actually came forward again. There was a bathtub ring, as some people call it, around it. But I have every faith in the world that America would have jumped into the idea of supporting this amazing restoration project.

 

Mr. SHADEGG. I was on the lake in 1992 and saw the bathtub ring. I have spent many, many days there. Do you have a scientific study that establishes that it would all be restored in 25 years?
Mr. WERBACH. What we are doing is assessing this at this point.
Mr. SHADEGG. OK. I apologize for being rude, but I've got a lot of ground to cover here. The answer is you do not have a study that establishes that.
Mr. WERBACH. Not that I know of.
Mr. SHADEGG. OK. In another article published in—actually repeated in a number of places, you say that proposing to drain Lake Powell is the perfect test of someone's true colors, and I quote, quote, ''it is the job of the Sierra Club to show what being green really means.''
Rob Elliot from my State, a noted environmentalist himself, is here to testify strongly against this proposal. Are you saying—is the Sierra Club saying that anyone who opposes this is not, quote-unquote, ''really green?''
Mr. WERBACH. I would not tend to say—I would not make calls on people's environmentalness. I don't do that.
Mr. SHADEGG. Let me turn to some other comments. In an article in Outside Magazine, written by Bill Donohue this year, April 1997, you say: ''We are going to do the science.'' I take it that means that, when the Sierra Club board voted, you had not, in fact, already done the science; is that correct?
Mr. WERBACH. That is correct. We are advocating environmental assessment.
Mr. SHADEGG. Well, that's not what your resolution said. It didn't say that. Your statement here today says you're doing that. But the vote of your board was to drain Lake Powell.

 

Mr. WERBACH. Because we believe that is the best way to advocate the draining of Lake Powell, because we believe the science will bear us out.
Mr. SHADEGG. Yeah, well, I guess maybe that then fits with the title of your forthcoming book, which is mentioned in another article that we found, which says that your forthcoming book is going to be titled: ''Act First and Apologize Later.'' I suggest you don't think that Congress should act first and apologize later.
Mr. WERBACH. The idea is that sometime when ideas are controversial, they're hard to look at, they're hard to swallow. Sometimes society needs to take a moment and move forward. Sometimes we need to assess things that may seem unpopular, that may seem controversial because these issues are critical to our future.
Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Chairman, may I request, since this is an important topic——
Mr. HANSEN. Is there an objection? Hearing none, the gentleman is recognized for two additional minutes.
Mr. SHADEGG. Thank you very much.
In that same article in Outside Magazine by Mr. Donohue, the question was raised as to why the Sierra Club is really doing this. And Mr. Donahue asks you point-blank, he says: ''One logical answer is that the Sierra Club is simply genuflecting before its aging Arch Druid,'' I can't pronounce that word, ''David Brower.''
You respond: ''That's a huge part of it.'' Do you think that we ought to drain Lake Powell as a—in order to pay respect to Mr. Brower for which he reports draining Lake Powell is somewhat of a grail?
Mr. WERBACH. Congressman, I have great respect for those people who are older than me, as there are many of them.
Mr. SHADEGG. Including me.

 

Mr. WERBACH. Say again?
Mr. SHADEGG. Including me.
Mr. WERBACH. I rely on their advice to move forward. Now, Mr. Brower fought this battle during this time. And he knew the issues. And many times he corrected the Bureau of Reclamation, which was wrong on a lot of figures. They admit that now. There are many times when he was right and they were wrong.
Now he says his action was a mistake at the time. And it would seem strange not to take the advice of someone who has such sage wisdom and who has helped protect so many fabulous places in America.
Mr. SHADEGG. As a matter of fact, he's gone around the Nation saying that he has worn sack cloth and ashes for 40 years. And it seems to me that that may be his perspective. That's not a good comment on public policy. I think he's dead wrong now.
Let me—the one last point I want to make out of this article goes to the question of what's going on here. And I raised this in my opening statement. Mr. Donahue says the real motive, they say, these are critics of the Sierra Club, is that the Sierra Club, who's average membership is now about 45, is desperately trying to appear fresh and hip.
According to Mark Dowy, author of ''Losing Ground,'' a Pulitzer Prize nominated study on U.S. environmentalism, the Club's board feels that the best way to attract more youthful supporters is to enhance this kind of blind idealism.
You wouldn't agree with that assessment and you wouldn't suggest we make public policy on that basis, would you?
Mr. WERBACH. The Sierra board of directors did not look at this issue at all when it was considering this issue in any way. I will mention, though, that there is extremely high support of this among young people. Young people do understand that they have not had the chance to see those canyons. And the Congressman to your left said that he has had a chance. Frankly, I'm jealous. I've seen Cataract Canyon. I was able to raft it twice this summer. And I, one day, would like to be able to raft Glen Canyon as well.

Mr. SHADEGG. You can see Glen Canyon if you go there today.
Mr. HANSEN. I thank the gentleman from Arizona.
The gentlelady from Idaho, Mrs. Chenowith.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. I join the gentleman from Arizona and the gentleman from Utah in still trying to understand your specific reasons. As I understand the reasons why you would like to see Lake Powell drained, first of all, you propose that we drain the lake, but leave the impoundment facility there, right?
Mr. WERBACH. That's correct.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And then there would be about 15,000 people who would be hiking or floating the river in its natural state?
Mr. WERBACH. I'm not quite sure where you get that number. If you look at places like Moab, Utah, you see incredible amounts of recreational activities taking place in canyons.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. You also indicated that one of the reasons why you would recommend or the Club recommended that we drain Lake Powell was because of the humpback chub and the sucker fish; is that correct?
Mr. WERBACH. I'm sorry. Can you ask that question again?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Another reason that you suggested that we should drain Lake Powell is because of the humpback chub fish and a sucker fish; is that correct?
Mr. WERBACH. Yes. We believe that destroying species that God created is not something that humanity should be doing.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And then finally we heard testimony about being able to view the bathtub ring; is that correct?
Mr. WERBACH. Being able to view it?
Mrs. CHENOWETH. The bathtub ring.

 

Mr. WERBACH. Yes. We believe that there would be a bathtub ring for all of the garbage and crud that's been thrown out of those houseboats for all these years.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Golly, I just find that amazing. I mean, you want what's natural but you're willing to drain the lake and leave the impoundment facility standing there. Absolutely amazing.
Right now, they have an outstanding trout fishery because the water is cooler. And so with the water warming up, there would be the greater stripe bass population, which, in turn preys, on the chub and the sucker. And I'm sorry, sir, but your logic just doesn't add up. But I find your testimony and your proposal very interesting. And believe me, I take it seriously.
I want to ask Mr. Stewart, do you believe that this particular proposal threatens the law of the river?
Mr. STEWART. I think the only way that the obligations could be met by the upper basin States to the lower basin States would be by changing the Law of the River, which is an extraordinarily complicated, delicate compromise which has been worked out for that equitable apportionment. And the potential for warfare between States would be significant.
And one of the things that I try to keep in mind is the fact that, as I count up the number—the numbers of the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives plus the U.S. Senate representing the upper basin States versus those of the lower basin States, we lose by, as I recall, about a 3 to 1 margin. And that's not a real comforting thought for those of us in the upper basin States.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. What would be the, in your opinion, the environmental impact of this proposal for wildlife and vegetation in Utah that are dependent upon the reservoir?

Mr. STEWART. Clearly, the habitats that have been established since the reservoir was created would be destroyed. And the impacts on a number of species would be great. But I would indicate this further. In order for the State of Utah to meet its water needs that would be lost because of the draining of Lake Powell, we would end up damming other rivers elsewhere in the State. Other habitats would be destroyed.
And, again, I ask the question—I asked the question earlier where why is the right of 15,000 or 20,000 people to enjoy a hike or a river run through Glen Canyon superior for the 3 million who may enjoy the flat water? Why would the destruction of additional river habitats in northern Utah to meet our water supply be less of a loss than a potential or questionable restoration of a habitat in southern Utah? Those are value judgments that are very difficult for me to accept.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you, Mr. Stewart.
Ms. Pearson, the work that you do in your capacity as director is admirable.
Ms. PEARSON. Thank you.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. And I have learned a lot from all of those of you who have testified. But you mentioned in your testimony that, without the insurance of water that Lake Powell does provide, that property values downstream could go down.
Could you, to the degree we have time, expound on this and expand on this? And, in your opinion, if we drain Lake Powell, and the property values go down, wouldn't this require that the U.S. compensate, under the constitutional requirements, compensate for that loss?
Ms. PEARSON. Thank you, Congresswoman. There would be very local impacts. And in my testimony, I talked about the immediate impact to Page and surrounding communities that rely on tourism as a major source of income to those communities. The property values, obviously, adjacent to Lake Powell would be dramatically impacted. There would be no resource base on which to stimulate the economy. Those taxes, of course, support the infrastructure. You would have impacts on schools, medical care, et cetera. It's a very local impact.

 

On a regional basis, in particular, Arizona, we have a program known as 100-year assured water supply program which applies to all the major urban areas of the State. And what that does is guarantee to families, businesses that come into our area, that before they can develop, there has to be a 100-year assured water supply, a committed stable affordable water supply of high quality water available to them.
We are assuming that we have the Colorado River entitlement available to us to meet that demand. Without it, we would be forced to go back on groundwater. Groundwater is a finite source of water. We would lose that supply of water in a very short period of time. We would have inadequate amounts of water to meet the long-term demand in our communities. That would have a dramatic impact on property values. Obviously, we could not sustain our current population. Similar concerns, I think, can be expressed both in southern Nevada as well as southern California.
Mrs. CHENOWETH. Thank you. And, Mr. Chairman, I want to commend Mr. Mark Whitlock on his testimony and on the program that he has led in embarking on the installation of water-efficient shower heads and toilets. And believe me, your testimony was refreshing to hear. Keep up the good work. Thank you.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you for the testimony of all the folks.
Mr. VENTO. Mr. Chairman, may I take my 2 minutes now? I'll take 2 minutes if I can have unanimous consent.
Mr. HANSEN. The gentleman from Minnesota.
Mr. VENTO. I don't quite share the sense of shock of my colleagues. I feel like it's a scene out of Casablanca here. They're shocked that the Sierra Club would be in favor. Frankly, I mean, in terms of some of that idealism, while I don't think, you know, that we're quite ready to act on this particular proposal I think is a good quality. And I hope that the Sierra Club and other groups that are involved from both—whatever view maintain that.

 

As far as studies are concerned, I think we spend a lot of money, at least we should be spending dollars on this important resource. I think there are a lot of questions raised by this in terms of what happens with the soils and the accumulation of sediments that—I heard some talk about various types of heavy metals and other things that are accumulating there.
And these, frankly, represent like some of the questions dealing with nuclear waste, you know, it's almost a problem from the mining to the disposal of the high-level waste.
And I think these dams and some of the other water structures that we're involved with in the West have some of the same sort of questions that are being raised. So as far as environmental assessment, which is a—I would expect that the Bureau of Reclamation and other authorities there are almost on a constant basis looking at the nature of the reservoir and the angle of repose, the other soils and the rate at which it's filling and other questions that are important. You know, there is a blue ribbon trout stream downstream. A lot of us who fish, we like that particular quality.
So we have dramatically changed this area. There are some positives to it, I guess, and a lot of other aspects that are not. But as we get new information, we have to be willing to look at it. I understand the position of the Sierra Club in this area, but I don't think that we should be opposed to obviously getting adequate information concerning this. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. HANSEN. Thank you. Mr. Stewart, in your testimony, maybe I got this wrong, but you said, in Lake Mead, as it was drawing down, that a certain amount of willows were created, and this became a habitat for willow flycatchers; is that right?
Mr. STEWART. Southwest willow flycatcher, yes.
Mr. HANSEN. And now one of the proposals we have in front of us is to fill up Lake Mead with the water from Lake Powell. But you also stated that there was an environmental group that had filed a lawsuit to prohibit Lake Mead from coming up, as it would destroy that habitat; is that correct?

 

Mr. STEWART. That's correct.
Mr. HANSEN. Is the Sierra Club enjoined in that lawsuit, Mr. Werbach?
Mr. WERBACH. I am not sure. I will check with my staff and get that into the record.
Mr. HANSEN. Kind of a little paradox there. On one hand, you know, if you say that we want to a fill Lake Mead with Lake Powell; yet, we're in a lawsuit to prevent the flycatcher's habitat. It would be just a tad of a paradox or maybe an inconsistency. I don't mean to make a big deal out of that. But it strikes me rather odd that the environmental community who would advocate draining Lake Powell and putting the water into Lake Mead would also become an area that is something that could not occur.
Mr. Werbach, you had a very powerful organization. The Sierra Club is known nationwide, has a lot of power. It's been reported in Salt Lake papers that you folks are prepared to come up with a half million to $3 million to push this proposal. Is that correct?
Mr. WERBACH. No, that is not correct.
Mr. HANSEN. What is correct, may I ask?
Mr. WERBACH. The Sierra Club is not—the proposal to advocate the draining of the lake or the environment assessment?
Mr. HANSEN. One or both.
Mr. WERBACH. We have no budget, per se, for the proposal to advocate the draining of the lake. Our first goal right now is to complete this environmental assessment and that—the Sierra Club is not proposing to conduct that. We're proposing to help the Glen Canyon Institute. We're hoping that, with your help, the administration will undertake that review.
Mr. HANSEN. If you accept what Mr. Shadegg said about draining the lake and you folks are serious about it, if I understand how that would have to go, it would go through Congress, and Congress would pass legislation. This place is a rumor mill, we all know that, and it's a big sieve anyway. It's like the Pentagon. There are no secrets at all over there.

 

Anyway, having said that, we keep hearing you have a sponsor to—I've asked. Is anybody a sponsor? It's none of my business, I guess. You don't have to answer that. But do you have a sponsor on draining Lake Powell or proposing this legislation?
Mr. WERBACH. We have not seeked a sponsor for this.
Mr. HANSEN. You're not to that point yet of talking to someone; is that right?
Mr. WERBACH. No.
Mr. HANSEN. I assume you do have some Members of Congress who find this an interesting idea, though; is that correct?
Mr. WERBACH. Frankly, we haven't had conversations with the Members of Congress on this yet. This is our first opportunity to do that. And we're not really looking for it. Right now what we're trying to do is to begin this assessment so that we'll have the facts to answer many of the good questions that you're asking right now.
Mr. HANSEN. If you were to put this in a category of importance of the many things that the Sierra Club is interested in, where would you put this?
Mr. WERBACH. I would put this of critical importance to the Sierra Club.
Mr. HANSEN. It is critical importance?
Mr. WERBACH. Uh-huh.
Mr. HANSEN. Top five maybe.
Mr. WERBACH. It's critically important to the Sierra Club.
Mr. HANSEN. Critically important to the Sierra Club. Well, I appreciate that. I appreciate your candor.
We have kept you folks here quite a while. We'll excuse this panel. Excuse me, Mr. Shadegg had an additional 2 minutes he wanted to take.

 

Mr. SHADEGG. Mr. Chairman, I hope not to take 2 minutes. But since Mr. Brower was to be on this panel, there are, although many quotes I might want to ask him about, there are at least three that I think are critical. And I would like to put them in the record and make a case for why I think they are important.
Mr. HANSEN. Is there an objection? Hearing none, so ordered.
Mr. SHADEGG. It's pretty clear that Mr. Brower is the single most dominant advocate of this idea. If you look at the history of the political struggles within the Sierra Club, he's been on the board and off the board. He was the executive director when the lake was built and wears sack cloth and ashes as he is quoted as saying, and he wants to now right this. His piece, ''Let the River Run Through It'' is the seminal piece on why this ought to happen.
There are, as I said, three quotes that have been published and attributed to him which I find shocking and which I would like him to respond to. The first appears in ''Environmental Overkill'' published in 1993 by Dixie Lee Ray. And by the way, in none of these quotes have I found—ever have I found a statement by Mr. Brower disavowing them.
The first quote is: ''While the death of young men in war is unfortunate, it is no more serious than the touching of mountains and wilderness areas by human kind.''
The second quote is found in Dixie Lee Ray's book, ''Trashing the Planet.'' It is based on a subsequent book noted in—or a prior book noted in her footnote. And this quote is: ''Childbearing should be a punishable crime against society unless the parents hold a government license. All potential parents should be required to use contraceptive chemicals, the government issuing antidotes to citizens chosen for childbearing.''
And the third quote—and I thought it would be impossible to trump the first two until I found this one. The third one is, quote, by Mr. Brower, the advocate of this idea: ''Loggers losing their jobs because of spotted owl legislation is, in my eyes,'' Mr. Brower says, ''no different than people being out of work after the furnaces of Dachau are shut down.'' That also appears in Dixie Lee Ray's book, ''Environmental Overkill,'' published in 1993, and was never disavowed by Mr. Brower. I think those are important quotes to get into the record. And I would like——

Mr. DOOLITTLE. Would the gentleman yield?
Mr. SHADEGG. Certainly.
Mr. DOOLITTLE. I would just like to ask Mr. Werbach if you agree with those quotes or which one do you disagree with, if any.
Mr. WERBACH. First of all, let me state my great offense at the suggestion David Brower would suggest those things. No, I do not agree with those things. I do not suggest that we take Dixie Lee Ray's view on the environment as gospel.
I will mention that David Brower served in a mountaineering unit in World War II along with former Senator Bob Dole, served our country well, and does not deserve to be slandered in that way.
Mr. SHADEGG. No, reclaiming my time, these are all quotes that appear on the Internet attributed to Mr. Brower and have been there since 1990 and 1993, respectively. We have thoroughly, as you might tell at this point in this hearing, we searched this issue and Mr. Brower and found not a single occasion where he has disavowed any of them. So if this is an opportunity for him to do so, I call upon him to do so.
Mr. HANSEN. The gentleman's time has expired. We appreciate the panel being with us. Mr. Werbach,


 

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