Original Publication Date: August 22nd, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
“There are only two options, the current U.S. Army Corps’ plan, or nothing.” That has been the message from the Diversion Authority from day one.
Their incredulous question is, “Why won’t you cooperate with us? Clearly you only want to kill flood control for Fargo.”
Either the world ends at Fargo’s city limits, or the Diversion Authority’s public relations machine has been well disciplined by their advisors.
Those of us who live upstream, and in the shadow of the dam and reservoir, are out of options. No matter how many times we ask for changes to the project that would give protection to Fargo and still allow our communities to thrive, we have been told none will be forthcoming. No matter how many times we ask to consider a basin-wide approach to flood control, we have been told the diversion plans are a done deal.
The result is what has transpired during the last month. The Diversion Authority announced they will begin construction on the ring dike around Hickson, Oxbow, and Bakke whether or not the project gets authorized or funded by Congress. Too bad that the majority of the people inside the ring dike want nothing to do with it. Soon to follow, will be ring dikes around Comstock, N.D., and Wolverton, Minn.
The Joint Powers Authority filed a lawsuit against the U.S. Army Corps this week to make the planners examine all the alternatives before they start building the Fargo project. Diversion Authority Chairman Darryl Vanyo said this proves we are trying to leave Fargo unprotected, and don’t care about their well being. The JPA and MinnDak Upstream Coalition have asked repeatedly for a dialogue on project features that affect our communities. The lawsuit is entirely the result of the Diversion Authority’s deaf ear to the concerns of the people who own, reside and make their living off the property south of town that Fargo wants to use as a holding pond.
Is the lawsuit an attempt to stop the current diversion plan?
Is it an attempt to stop flood control for Fargo?
Fargo has more than $200 million in cash from the state of North Dakota, and receives more than $30 million a year from sales tax, and yet they have to build a clay dike in front of their City Hall if the Valley gets a heavy rain. Moorhead can take $100 million from the state of Minnesota and get 100-year flood protection, but Fargo has to take 50,000 acres from the folks south of town to get theirs. Fargo’s single solution for flood control shouldn’t happen unless the people who are most damaged, are a part of the decision making process. The decisions can be made here. If the project planners refuse, then the decisions will have to be made in a courtroom in St. Paul, Minn., or Washington.