Since the 1970's, policy changes have led to a greater recognition of the importance of the environment in the operating of Glen Canyon Dam. Future policies will no doubt be created in the spirit of these changes. However, it is not clear how far future policies will go to preserve the environment. The latest proposed policy change is one to drain Lake Powell, and a hearing was convened in 1997 to examine arguments pertaining to this proposal. The fact that a hearing was held is significant because even though the resolution failed in the House, the claim by those in favor of draining the Lake was nonetheless legitimated by being given the opportunity to speak. In addition, the hearing has brought the issue national attention and has encouraged debate, challenging the public to reexamine laws made when the dams were built, in an era when few environmental laws or regulations existed. Because the issue of draining the lake encompasses so many competing interests, from Native Americans and environmentalists who intrinsically value the environment, to the congressional representatives responsible for ensuring their constiuencies' basic needs, it is uncertain when and how it will be resolved.

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