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Published September 23, 2013, 08:54 AM

Red River diversion opponents raising money

CHRISTINE, N.D. (AP) — Opponents of the planned Red River diversion around Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., are raising money to pay for a federal lawsuit against the project.

CHRISTINE, N.D. (AP) — Opponents of the planned Red River diversion around Fargo and neighboring Moorhead, Minn., are raising money to pay for a federal lawsuit against the project.

About 500 people turned out Sunday night for a fundraising steak dinner in the town of Christine, The Forum newspaper reported.

The lawsuit filed last month over the nearly $2 billion project claims it is vastly overpriced and will damage farmland. Supporters of the project say it will provide long-term flood protection for the metro area that has fought several major spring flood battles in recent years.

The diversion has been authorized by the U.S. Senate but not yet by the House, and no money has been approved for construction.

Christine resident Cash Aaland, a Fargo attorney and one of the most vocal opponents of the diversion that some believe will worsen flooding upstream on the north-flowing river, said the court fight will be long and expensive.

"Fargo has made a huge miscalculation," Aaland told the crowd. "They think they can flood our community, Richland County and Wilkin (Minn.) County. But they can't, and we're going to stop them."

The dinner raised $40,000, the same as a similar fundraiser in April.

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