Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, I have submitted my written testimony previously, and I assume it will be part of the record.
As the Chairman of the Friends of Lake Powell, I thank you for
allowing me to speak on behalf of the people that support maintaining Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam.
This testimony normally would be a trying thing for a layman like myself. But while you cannot see
them, I feel I have a million people standing by my side.
To begin, let me paraphrase our mission statement. We support the preservation of Lake Powell and Glen Canyon Dam for the generations. We want to
provide the public factual information about social, entertainment, environmental, and the economics. And we'll solicit membership to create maximum public awareness of these issues.
We will fight off any
attempts by groups that seek to alter its status. We will support environmental improvements and represent the millions of people who love the area.
Let me tell you some facts about Lake Powell. This is a
fact: Lake Powell and the surrounding area is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Lake Powell is in northern Arizona and southern Utah. Ninety percent of the lake is in Utah.
The lake surface is
below the surrounding mountains and is the major reason for its extreme beauty. Blue waters contrast the red sandstone cliffs. There is nothing else like it on this planet.
Lake Powell was created by Glen
Canyon Dam. Lake Powell was named for Major John Wesley Powell. Lake Powell is within the Glen Canyon national recreation area, which has 1,236,800 acres, the size of Delaware. It preserves 650 million years of history
with a mission to preserve the existing scientific, scenic, and historical features, which certainly include the Lake and Dam.
Lake Powell is 186 miles long with 1,960 miles of shore line, more than the
entire length of the West Coast of the United States. It has 96 major side canyons.
But before I go on, for the record, I must point out some of the misleading information that proponents of draining Lake
Powell have issued. First, evaporation. Claims of one million feet have been voiced, even here today. The official figures are half that. Most importantly, evaporation is not elimination. It is a natural part of
weather. All bodies of water evaporate when exposed to atmospheric changes. But the water becomes clouds in the case of Lake Powell, it rains on fields and farms in places East such as Colorado, Kansas, and Nebraska.
The proponents of draining would allow this water to flow into the Sea of Cortez, where it would evaporate also and water Mexico's crops and not our heartland.
They talk about restoring the
Canyon walls knowing full well that not all the king's horses and all the king's men can put the iron oxide back in.
The bathtub ring, as it is so-called, seen as the water recedes, extends from top to
bottom and all around the lake. We would be left with the biggest, bleached, ugliest white hole on earth. And the proponents of lake draining would be long gone.
Statements have been made claiming the Power
Plant and Dam have as little as 100 years or so. You have heard today that Bureau figures indicate 500 years for the Power Plant and up to 700 years for the Lake with a do-nothing policy.
If no superduper
sources of power and energy are developed over the next 500 years, I submit to you that dredging is not rocket science.
They say simply pull the plug in Glen Canyon Dam. Impossible. As the diversion tubes
are completely filled with concrete and their outlets were redirected to make spillway outlets, draining the Lake and leaving the Dam intact is not possible. Their claims that the Dam is unstable and subject to
catastrophic failure are so slanderous, I refuse to discuss them.
Also, for the record, you should know that the Sierra Club's seven-member task force charged with studying this issue were invited by the
Bureau of Reclamation, Mr. Bill Duncan, whose name was in the record this morning, to come to the Lake Powell, visit the Dam, and talk to the people, and they refused. Ignorance must be bliss.
Now, let me
go on. Glen Canyon Power Plant controls the complete upper CSRP with six other power plants. Lake Powell is the water savings account as you've heard today for the upper basin States and for delivery to the lower basin
The Power Plant generates enough electricity for 400,000 people. Lake Powell hosts about 3 million visitors a year. As heard today, over 400,000 people a year come for boating activity.
The Lake now affords access to 325,000 people a year that can reach Rainbow Bridge National Monument. Before, it was about a 16-mile walk to get to that monument.
The lake is also home to about 275 species
of birds, 700 species of plants. As mentioned earlier, the Peregrine Falcon is there. And, largely, the lake is the reason its population is being removed from the endangered species list. We have trout fishing. The
lake waters supply the Navajo generating station, as was stated earlier.
Electricity is equal to about $100 million a year from Glen Canyon Dam. About a Billion Dollars a year from NGS. And all of these
dollars are subject to Federal taxes, State taxes, County taxes, and City taxes.
The local commerce supports human services, hospital, schools, libraries, and other essential services. Nearly 23,000 Native
Americans live on nearby reservations. Our public school enrollments are 63 percent Native American.
In closing, let me say that the people involved in daily life, commerce, and the free enterprise system
surrounding the area will oppose until their deaths any person or persons that attempt to disrupt our personal rights, freedoms, and opportunities for existence around Lake Powell.
According to the intent
of the articles of our Constitution, no one person or group has either the right or the power to impose their belief on others in this the great United States of America. We, the millions of Friends of Lake Powell, are
citizens and voters and intend to see that these rights are upheld regardless of time and cost. Thank you for the opportunity to speak to you today.