There was no middle ground about Floyd Dominy, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s longest-serving commissioner. He died April 20 in Boyce, Va., four months into his second century of life.
Dominy was either the conquering hero of the west, pushing completion of huge dam projects on the Colorado River and elsewhere that brought water and power to growth-obsessed western states and work and wealth to their construction industry builders. Or he was the reviled enemy of environmentalists, a power-grabber whose projects were simply government pork that would forever destroy the natural beauty and proper flow of western rivers. In a 1999 editorial, ENR labeled Dominy “an insufferable titan of public works.”