U.S. Rep. John Shadegg said he wants fellow congress members to experience Lake Powell firsthand and comprehend its importance as a resource in the region.
The Phoenix Republican — who paid a visit to the Page area Jan. 7 — said a plan to bring some members of the House to the lake is in preparation.
As a long-time supporter of Lake Powell, Shadegg wants to give others added insight concerning the reservoir.
"We're hoping to set up the trip as early as this spring," said Shadegg in an interview during his visit. "We'll probably take them to Rainbow Bridge ... and set up a tour of the dam."
The congressman initially planned to scheduled a fall visit, but the events of Sept. 11 forced him to postpone the trip. He said it remains an important endeavor given the political issues involving the lake.
Shadegg alluded to the push in recent years by environmentalists to drain Lake Powell, and has been an outspoken opponent of draining the lake. "I believe the threat to the lake is real," Shadegg said.
During his one-day visit to the area, Shadegg met with Kitty Roberts, park superintendent for the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area. The two discussed various topics concerning the lake, including the carbon monoxide problem and water quality.
Shadegg took a tour of Antelope Point to examine the location of the proposed $56 million marina. He said he was excited about the facility, which GMF Antelope LLC hopes to build starting this summer.
"It looks like an impressive project," Shadegg said. "I think it will be a great addition." The congressman also attended a board meeting for Friends of Lake Powell, a nonprofit organization he helped establish.
Shadegg discussed legislation that could impact the carbon monoxide poisoning problem faced by houseboats. The odorless gas emitted from engines and generators is responsible for at least a dozen deaths on Lake Powell.
Initially, Shadegg wanted the U.S. Coast Guard to work on the problem, but said the agency has moved too slowly to address the issue. He instead wants the Consumer Products Safety Commission to handle it.
A variety of solutions — side ventilation, stack exhaust and catalytic converter systems — have surfaced. Shadegg said he is "not wed to a particular solution," he only wants the problem effectively solved.
The big issue Congress is expected to tackle this year, however, is homeland security. Shadegg said this effects Lake Powell, because he said security at dams will surely become a part of such legislation.
He said "the terrorist threat is great enough" that specific proposals involving dams will most likely be addressed.
The Southwest region also could experience the implications of electricity deregulation policies Congress will examine this year.
"Deregulation is a huge issue," Shadegg said. "We'll probably mark that bill for early February."
The House of Representatives will go back into session Jan. 23 with the State of the Union address taking place Jan. 29. Until then, Shadegg said he will work from his Phoenix office and prepare for his return to Washington.
©Lake Powell Chronicle 2002
reprinted by permission
Congressman planning trip to bring fellow reps to Page
Jan 16 2002 12:00AM By By Seth Muller Lake Powell Chronicle