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Breaking News: Federal Court to Hear Joint Powers Case

Press Release
Richland-Wilkin
Joint Powers Authority
August 14, 2014

This spring, the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority proposed to the Diversion Authority that disputes regarding the Oxbow Ring-Dike be rolled into the same federal litigation that is challenging the adequacy of the federal Environmental Impact Statement. Both the United States Army Corps of Engineers and the Diversion Authority objected to amending the federal pleadings to deal with that issue. For that reason, the Joint Powers Authority challenged the Oxbow Ring Dike construction in State Court. The Diversion Authority then asked the Federal Court to stop our State Court action and urged the Federal Court to rule that Minnesota’s permitting and environmental law cannot be enforced against the Diversion project.

We told Judge Tunheim that our objective was to have our case heard either in state or federal court. In a ruling today, Judge Tunheim has determined that the proper court to hear the Joint Powers Authority’s case is Federal Court. We are pleased that we now have a definitive ruling on the appropriate place to resolve that dispute. Judge Tunheim’s decision does the following:

Refuses to rule that Minnesota’s permitting and environmental laws are superseded
  by federal law.

Determines that the Joint Powers Authority’s case should be heard in Federal Court
  and recognizes our right to amend the federal pleadings to challenge the Diversion
  Authority’s commencement of the Oxbow Ring Dike.

  This is a ruling we find fully acceptable.

Allows the State of Minnesota to participate as a Friend of the Court to advocate that
  Minnesota law requires the Diversion Authority to obtain State permits for the project.

For additional information, contact Nathan Berseth at (701) 388-3549

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Press Release 8-14-2014

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