Daniel Beard: Deadbeat Dams | Ken Sanders Rare Books | Books | Salt Lake City Weekly
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Daniel Beard: Deadbeat Dams Staff Pick

When: Tue., March 31, 7-9 p.m. 2015
Price: Free
KenSandersBooks.com
Ken Sanders, owner of Ken Sanders Rare Books, has a reputation for being a bit countercultural. Among his friends, Sanders counted the late author/environmentalist Edward Abbey, whose monkey-wrenching stunts often targeted development in Southern Utah, such as the Glen Canyon Dam. So it is no surprise that Sanders' bookstore will host a reading of a book titled Deadbeat Dams: Why We Should Abolish the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Tear Down Glen Canyon Dam. The surprising part is the author's own background. Far from being a monkey-wrencher, Daniel P. Beard has held powerful positions in the U.S. government. He served as deputy assistant secretary for the Department of the Interior, as staff director for the Water & Power Subcommittee and, in 1993, became commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation. From the beginning of his tenure, Beard's relationship with the Bureau of Reclamation was unconventional. In an interview conducted during his service at the bureau by the branch's senior historian, Beard openly addressed his concerns about the government's management of water. "The dam-building era is over in the United States," he declared. "Frankly, they've had a lot of unintended, unanticipated, negative impacts." By the time Beard left the bureau in 1995, he had significantly shrunk the agency, giving increased decision-making authority to local-level field personnel. At a time of rising concern over drought in the West, and when conservative politicians are demanding less government, Beard's reading of Deadbeat Dams will be an interesting alternative take on how limited government might lead to better policy-making. (Katherine Pioli)

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