Rather than petition congress for an exemption, it seems to me our next step needs to be to save the ol' gal herself. I saw a recent picture of her and she is looking very forlorn and neglected. Without constant maintenance, she will fall into a state of disrepair to the point where she can't be brought back even if an exemption is granted.
I think we need to petition Xanterra to try to find an interested party, such as a municipality or historical group who would assume responsibility for the boat, give the boat to that party, along with an endowment for maintenance. In the long run, such a plan will probably save Xanterra money.
If, as the present people who want to bring the boat back says, Cincinnati and/or St. Louis has pledged money to start the company if the boat is granted an exemption, then perhaps, those municipalities would be interested in having the boat along with the maintenance endowment as tourist attraction until congress grants the exemption.
With out something happening soon, the grand old dame will become a rotting pile of timber.
But, what do I know?