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Press Release: Renzi Proposes $1.2 Million Giveaway to Grand Canyon Motor Outfitters

Bill is one more attempt to sabotage the public process guiding the Colorado River Management Plan at Grand Canyon National Park.

May 18, 2004

Flagstaff—Masquerading as a clever attempt to promote hydrogen-powered electric energy to the Park Service, the "Grand Canyon Hydrogen-Powered Motorboat Demonstration Act of 2004," proposed by Congressman Rick Renzi (R-AZ), does little more than fuel frustration at legislator attempts to interfere with the public process for the Colorado River Management Plan at Grand Canyon National Park.

 “Congressman Renzi’s legislative goal is a river boat that is silent, safe, reliable, and produces zero pollutants,” says Kim Crumbo, AWC’s Grand Canyon Regional Director, “but the fact of the matter is that silent, pollution-free oar-powered boats with a proven safety record already run the Colorado River. Since a pair of oars cost about $300, there is no need for a million dollar subsidy at taxpayer expense.” Crowding and motor boats at Lee's Ferry.

 Congressman Renzi’s proposed legislation, HR 4162, caps a long list of attempts over the past 20 years to manhandle the Park Service’s duty to come up with a management plan for the longest, wild whitewater river in the lower 48 states. In a congressional hearing on May 15th, Rep. Renzi called for a three-year test period at $400,000 a year to assist in the development of a hydrogen fuel powered motorboat on the Colorado River. The hearing was chaired by Representative George P. Radanovich, (R-CA), Chairman of the House Subcommittee on National Parks, Recreation, and Public Lands.

The bill would force the continuation of motorized tour boats on the river indefinitely, and would constrict the ongoing Colorado River Management Plan alternatives, which are scheduled for a draft release in July. The draft alternatives are an accumulation of more than six management workshops, nine public meetings, at least six versions of a draft wilderness recommendation, and the completion of two separate environmental impact statements—in all, more than a decade of public involvement.

"If Congressman Renzi really wants to help the Grand Canyon, he can pitch his hydrogen fuel cell project to managers at the South Rim, where millions of people visit each year and transportation problems are akin to what you find in rush hour Phoenix,” says Don Hoffman, Executive Director of the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. “This legislation basically mandates that motors continue to intrude on the river’s own natural pace and ensures that visitors will not enjoy this ancient, wild canyon free of motors.”

Others that testified at the hearing were proponents of hydrogen fuel cell technology, as well as Grand Canyon National Park Superintendent Joe Alston, the Grand Canyon River Outfitters Trade Association Director Mark Grisham, and the Hualapai Nation Head of Water Resources, Alex Cabillo.

The Arizona Wilderness Coalition has produced a river plan that preserves the river’s wilderness character by reducing the current crowding and congestion on the river and by gradually eliminating the need for motorboats. The plan does not reduce the total number of visitors, nor does it reduce commercial use of the river. Details of this proposal can be view on our website at

For more information, contact:

Kim Crumbo, Grand Canyon Regional Director: 928-638-2304;

Don Hoffman, Executive Director: 928-339-4426;


-Arizona Wilderness Coalition mission statement