Delta Queen Backers Ask White House For Help

A group that’s trying to help put the Delta Queen steamboat back in service is turning to the White House for help.

The 81 year old paddlewheeler was forced into drydock at the end of October because its longtime exemption to a federal safety rule was not renewed by Congress.

Vicki Webster of the Save the Delta Queen campaign says her group is asking President Bush for an executive order allowing the exemption to continue.

“We know he could not actually overturn the law itself, only the Supreme Court could do that. But we think there is a very good chance he could issue an order that would extend the exemption because its been automatically extended nine times over the past 42 years,” Webster said.

The exemption was held up in Congress by the chairman of the House Transportation Committee, who says he’s concerned about fire safety on the vessel.