A tiny group of U.S. senators never saw a dam they didn't like, even if it happened to be in a national park. Because of this, America's national parks must go at least another year without an essential bit of protection: a law that would prohibit the construction of new dams in the parks or enlargement of any of the 108 existing dams.
The bill, sponsored by Rep. Richard H. Lehman (D-Sanger), passed the House of Representatives without a dissenting vote in both 1986 and 1987. The city of San Francisco had withdrawn its opposition to the bill, and it seemed certain to win final congressional approval this year. But the bill became bottled up in the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee by critics led by Sens. Malcolm Wallop (R-Wyo.) and Frank H. Murkowski (R-Alaska). The committee is not expected to meet again this year so the bill is dead, said Sen. Wyche Fowler Jr. (D-Ga.), its chief Senate proponent.