Click here to watch Mr. O’Toole’s testimony.  

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY), chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works (EPW), welcomed Pat O’Toole, president of the Family Farm Alliance, to the committee. O’Toole was testifying before the committee at a hearing titled “Improving American Economic Competitiveness through Water Resources Infrastructure.”

Barrasso introduced O’Toole to the committee prior to his testimony. “I would like to take a moment to introduce a very special friend and a long time friend, Pat O’Toole.

“I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Pat for many years now.

“He and his family are sheep and cattle ranchers in southern Wyoming along the Little Snake River.

“Pat has served as the president of the Family Farm Alliance, an organization dedicated to advocating for farmers, ranchers, and irrigation districts in Western states, since 2005.

“He has been a board member since the 1990s.

“Pat is also a fellow former member of the Wyoming State Legislature, having sat in the Wyoming House of Representatives from 1986 to 1992, after which he served as a member of the Clinton administration’s Western Water Policy Review Advisory Committee.

“I know Pat to be a tireless advocate for the agriculture community in Wyoming and a leader when it comes to Western water storage policy — he knows just how important water supply and storage is to our state’s communities.

“It is the cornerstone of our economy and everything we do in Wyoming.

“Pat, it is a privilege to welcome you as a witness before the Environment and Public Works Committee.

“And I want to thank you for traveling all the way from Wyoming to be with us today in Washington,” said Barrasso.

In his written testimony, O’Toole highlighted the fact that water is the lifeblood of America. “Without reliable and affordable water supplies, every sector of our economy would suffer – from agriculture, to manufacturing and high-tech, to local community needs. Food cannot be grown, businesses cannot operate, and homes and schools cannot be built or operate without water. Critical water infrastructure must be maintained and modernized to ensure the delivery of water today and for future generations,” said O’Toole.

O’Toole also emphasized the critical need for a stable water supply. O’Toole stated, “While water conservation, water efficiency, and water transfers can be important tools for addressing certain water supply challenges, these tools are limited and do not yield the quantities of water that storage facilities do. Adequate water supplies for the future require supply enhancement measures – new and expanded water storage projects - that provide long term solutions across the West.”

O’Toole concluded by stating the importance of addressing unique challenges faced by rural communities. “Extreme hydrologic events – marked by drought on one end, and floods on the other – will require everyone in the West to adopt a new paradigm, one that truly promotes wise management of this limited and valuable resource.  This new paradigm will also mean additional investment in technology, conservation and new water storage and management infrastructure in order to deal with the uncertainties that lay before us,” said O’Toole.

For more information on O’Toole’s testimony and the hearing, click here.