INFORUM.com | WDAZ.com

WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 14, 2012, 07:13 PM

Flood diversion opponents will file lawsuit to defend their communities

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Opponents of Fargo-Moorhead's diversion project say they will file a lawsuit to defend their communities. They say environmental law is on their side, and the whole project could hinge on a permit from the Minnesota DNR.

By: Becky Parker, WDAY

Fargo, ND (WDAY TV) -- Opponents of Fargo-Moorhead's diversion project say they will file a lawsuit to defend their communities. They say environmental law is on their side, and the whole project could hinge on a permit from the Minnesota DNR.

A flood diversion plan that would displace thousands of people has prompted opponents to take legal action, and committee member Cash Aaland says they are confident they can stop it in its tracks.

Cash Aaland - Richland/Wilkin JPA: "We believe that the law favors us. Both the state law in Minnesota and North Dakota, and the federal law. The bottom line is, this dam and holding area is illegal."

The Richland/Wilkin Joint Powers Authority will file a lawsuit, because of a dam that would flood 54,000 acres, covering the current communities of Oxbow, Hickson and the Bakke Addition.

That is the Army Corps of Engineers' plan, and the federally preferred option out of five that the Diversion Authority is mulling over.

Cass County Commissioner Darrell Vanyo says the lines for a final plan have not yet been drawn.

Darrell Vanyo - Cass County Commissioner: "A couple of the plans that we're looking at for a southern alignment do protect a majority of the people down in Oxbow, Hickson area."

Lawyers for the Richland/Wilkin JPA say Minnesota environmental laws will prohibit the project from going through.

The Minnesota DNR does have a say in what happens with the river, and they could squash the entire plan by not issuing a permit if a better plan is available. And Aaland says they have one.

The original plan first proposed by the Corps included an inlet just South of Davies High School.

Aaland says that is best option, and it uses natural floodplain.

Cash Aaland: "The floodplain would remain intact in South Fargo, that protects Fargo, and our communities would not be destroyed."

The Diversion Authority will lay out the final plan on September 13th.

Tags: