Well, some interesting news has come out today that fits perfectly with my recent series of posts about the Congressional struggle to allow the Delta Queen to keep operating. Congressman Steve Chabot from Cincinnati continues to fight for the Delta Queen. He has invited Chairman James Oberstar to visit the Delta Queen and see for himself the array of safety systems in place. Here is Chabot’s press release:

Chabot Invites Chairman Oberstar to Personally View Safety Features of the Delta Queen

For Immediate Release

Date: August 22, 2008  
Contact: Todd Lindgren – (513) 684-2723

Chabot Invites Chairman Oberstar to Personally View Safety Features of the Delta Queen

CINCINNATI — Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) has formally invited House Transportation Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) to view the safety features onboard the historic Delta Queen steamboat.  In a letter sent last week, Chabot invited Chairman Oberstar to tour the boat on August 26, or any other date the boat is scheduled to be in Cincinnati this year.  Chabot also offered to arrange a tour for Chairman Oberstar when the Delta Queen is closer to his Minnesota home.

        “I am hopeful that Chairman Oberstar will take the time to personally view the tremendous safety enhancements that have been made over the years to ensure that every cruise aboard the Delta Queen is safe,” Chabot stated.

Last year, Chabot introduced bipartisan legislation (H.R. 3852) to allow the Delta Queen to continue to operate as an overnight passenger vessel.  The legislation has been referred to the House Transportation Committee, which Chairman Oberstar leads.  The Delta Queen is currently operating under a congressional exemption that is set to expire on November 1, 2008.

The Delta Queen began operating as a sternwheel river steamboat in 1926 and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1989.  For the last 40 years, the Delta Queen has safely operated on the rivers of the U.S. under a congressional exemption due to the paddle wheeler’s wooden superstructure not meeting certain regulations specified under the 1966 Safety at Sea Act.  While Congress originally intended this law to apply to ocean-going vessels, the Delta Queen, which is never far from shore, was unexpectedly caught-up in these regulations. Recognizing the difference between boats operating on inland waterways and those operating at sea, Congress established the exemption in 1968 and has renewed it on nine separate occasions to allow the Delta Queen to continue overnight passenger cruises.


Read Congressman Chabots remarks about the Delta Queen HERE.