Transcript of radio interview with Bruce Babbitt
Conducted by Deborah Phillips of KXAZ 93.3 FM
In Page, Arizona
July 14, 2000
Copyright: Lake Powell Communications(c)2000

Phillips: Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt is here in our studios and we're so honored to have you with us.

Babbitt: Deborah it's nice to be back.

Phillips: Thank you for coming in. We have several issues we want to discuss and of course in the front of our minds here in Page is the lake and the draining of the lake and that whole issue and if you could comment on that we'd certainly appreciate that.

Babbitt: Deborah I'm actually a little kind of surprised and bemused by how this thing has sort of shown up on the front page of so many newspapers and... yeah look, the bottom line is it's not going to happen. I don't support, you know, taking down Glen Canyon Dam. It's in place, it's there to stay, it's an important asset, it's an important part of the economic and the recreational life of Arizona, the Southwest and... look it's not real, it's not going to happen. I guess my advice to the citizens of Page is, there's no way this is going to happen. You're probably wise though to raise your voices and to, you know answer the... you know you shouldn't just let it sit, you know you ought to talk back and I think you're doing a pretty good job of that.

Phillips: We need to address that. My concern has always been, where is this water going to come from and the power that's generated if that is all taken away.

Babbitt: Well the bedrock issue is the water. And that's because the Colorado River Compact, which was entered into back in 1923, makes a certain set of commitments that relate to the seven states, all the way from Wyoming to California, and it's binding as a matter of compact and federal law and the upper basin states have a certain delivery obligation that cannot be met without storage capacity and the lower basin states, Arizona and California in particular, and Nevada, have a certain drought protection that really can't realistically be met in any other way. So I guess the bottom line is that as long as the Colorado River Compact is in force there has to be the storage capacity that was guaranteed and promised by Glen Canyon Dam. People say well you can amend the compact, yeah, right, pigs can jump over the moon too. The Compact, I think, is there to stay. It couldn't be changed effectively without seven states and Congress and there just isn't any... there's no prospect of that happening.

Phillips: Well that's very comforting to hear you say that, I appreciate that.

Babbitt: Now I realize that up in Moab people say, well we were up in Moab and we saw a picture of Bruce Babbitt in the ice cream store holding a sledgehammer saying I'm out to knock down some dams. I admit that's true. There are 75 thousand dams in the United States...75 thousand. And there are a fair number of them that no longer serve any purpose and ought to be taken down. I'll tell you it's one thing to take down a ten foot dam that is blocking salmon run off of Puget Sound and to talk about Hoover Dam and Glen Canyon when there's just a difference in perspective and realism, and yes, I'm in favor of taking down dams but there are real world limits and this one is safely outside that area of discussion in my judgement.