WDAY: The News Leader

Published February 15, 2010, 09:07 AM

Amendment to protect communities downstream

(WDAY TV) - A local politician says he would not support a diversion unless there was a plan in place to guarantee cities downstream aren't left out.

Representative Kent Eken says the solution is retention and he says that studies done by the Red River Basin Commission's engineer shows that retention would lower the red by 20 percent.

In a vote on the Public Works Bonding Bill, Eken is voting to put an amendment in that would not allow funding to a diversion project unless there is a plan to protect the areas downstream. Places like Perley, Hendrum and Georgetown. He says this is not intended to stop the diversion project, just make sure no one's hurt by the diversion.

REP. EKEN: "I'm concerned that just because they're from smaller communities, then don't have the economic and political muscle that Fargo-Moorhead might, that they could be overlooked and not included in the solution here."

After today's vote, a conference committee will look at the bill and then come back to the House to be voted on, again. And Eken says that he's optimistic that they will be able to vote on that bill by next week, but that's only if the committee can hammer out their differences.

Eken (EE-KEN) says that dikes are also not the answer, because they isolate communities that are flooded for weeks with the high water levels.