The Legacy of Damming "Messiah" Floyd Dominy

May 5, 2010 By: Marshall Cutchin

Photograph of Glen Canyon Dam & Lake Powell Da...

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The passing in April of the 100-year-old man whose dams plugged up the Colorado and other majestic western rivers suddenly got plenty of attention this week, from sources as different in scope as the High Country News and the Wall Street Journal.
In The New York Times, Douglas Martin quotes Marc Reisner, who in his 1986 book Cadillac Desert: The American West and its Disappearing Water said Mr. Dominy cultivated Congress “as if he were tending prize-winning orchids.”
Here’s Dominy in an interview with Outside magazine in 1999, talking about the push to build Glen Canyon Dam: “‘Of course we covered up some delightful country: country that was inaccessible, country that would never be visited by very many people, which we turned into one of the most beautiful lakes in the world.'”
But our favorite coverage of Dominy’s legacy came yesterday from NPR’s Elizabeth Arnold, whose three-minute podcast includes the surprising reminder that the Sierra Club supported Glen Canyon in return for the bureau passing up on other damming projects.

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