• Family Farm Alliance

Alliance President to Testify on Water Project Streamlining Bill


Family Farm Alliance President Patrick O’Toole will testify tomorrow before the House Committee on Natural Resources, Subcommittee on Water, Power and Oceans on a bill that will streamline the process associated with developing new water projects in the West. Click here to download Mr. O’Toole’s written testimony.

Rep. Dan Newhouse (R-WASHINGTON) earlier this month reintroduced HR 875, The Bureau of Reclamation Project Streamlining Act of 2017 (now HR 4419), a bill that would require Reclamation to accelerate studies and provide more accountability in the agency’s process to study the feasibility of new and or expanded surface water storage.

The legislation would provide the same streamlined water project development process for Reclamation surface water storage projects that the “Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014” gave to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. “The goal of H.R. 4419 is to reform the current cumbersome, lengthy process so that there is a mechanism to build new surface water storage projects in the West,” said Mr. O’Toole.

The O’Toole family has a strong background in irrigated agriculture and their 125-year old ranch – located near Savery, Wyoming - produces cattle, sheep and hay. The O’Toole family and Ladder Ranch were the recipients of the distinguished 2014 Wyoming Leopold Environmental Stewardship Award.

“Our ranch straddles the Wyoming-Colorado border and has long afforded me the opportunity to view some unique water issues, first hand,” said Mr. O’Toole.

Mr. O’Toole has testified before this Subcommittee several times, and has previously highlighted the permitting challenges he encountered in building the Little Snake Supplemental Irrigation Supply Project in Wyoming. “That project was built in less than two years, but took more than 14 years to permit,” said Mr. O’Toole. “However, that reservoir is now delivering water that benefits multiple uses.” Rep. Newhouse will testify before the Subcommittee on his bill, and Mr. O’Toole will be joined on the witness panel by Alan Mikkelsen (Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Reclamation), Urban Eberhart (Manager, Kittitas Reclamation District), and Scott Gudes (Vice President, American Sportfishing Association). Mr. Eberhart and his district are also members of the Alliance. For further information: please contact Dan Keppen (dankeppen@charter.net).


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