Through the 1920's and 30's, Reclamation concentrated its attention on the Boulder project. It generated no grand plans, as La Rue did, and made no claims on Grand Canyon damsites, as Arizona and private parties did. Nevertheless, staff was aware and thoughtful about Reclamation's role in Canyon power development; a policy of watchful waiting spiced up now and then by ensuring that turf was not lost.
One such mote in the eye was a hapless application by a Phoenician for a Marble Canyon dam to supply cities and mines. Reclamation told the FPC in Oct 1934 that the water rights were adverse, that no storage was available at the location, and that the case was strong for coordinated river development. The FPC denied.
Another indicator of a more long-running controversy was a Jan 1933 letter from NPS Director Albright to Reclamation head Mead. This vexing time-bomb had been set by the proclamation of the second Grand Canyon National Monument a month earlier, raising Reclamation worries. Albright argued this way: The 1920 federal power act opened all national parks and monuments to development. The 1921 act repealing the 1920 act prohibited development, but only in existing parks and monuments. Since then, NPS additions made by legislation explicitly prohibited power development. The GCNM of 1932 was not created by law, but by presidential proclamation. Therefore, it did not interfere with, delay or render impracticable the Bridge project. Thus, the FPC had jurisdiction over power development in GCNM. NPS "had in mind all the time the Bridge Canyon Project." Then --and watch this switch-- he added, there was no possible way to interfere with Bridge "provided it receives the approval of the Secretary of the Interior", which would carry with it the approval of Reclamation and NPS. Indeed, since the 1921 act did not apply to the GCNM, Reclamation did not even need to seek NPS approval.