Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
February 27th, 2014
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin JPA
For nearly 200 years children have been learning the lesson of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The ruler, duped by unscrupulous profiteers, makes a monumental mistake and no one dares to tell him the truth; not his faithful old minister, not his honest officer, not even the citizens in the street. Meanwhile the profiteers rake in “more money, more silk and more gold.”
In the story, anyone who spoke the truth would be “a simpleton, unfit for his office.” In reality anyone who questions Fargo’s plan is “against flood protection for Fargo,” and a target for the local media.
In the story only a child dares speak the truth. The Minnesota DNR will play that role with Fargo. Don’t be misled, the law is clear. Minnesota has the final word on whether the Red River gets a dam. The Army Corps is essentially just Fargo’s paid contractor for this project, in no way exempt from the requirements of Minnesota law. The DNR has stated its reservations and they are surprisingly similar to those of the Upstream Coalition: the “risk” is overstated, the flood plain is unnecessarily destroyed for development, and reasonable less damaging alternatives have been overlooked. The DNR’s concerns have gone unanswered, its warnings are ignored.
Prudence would dictate that spending should stop pending this decision. Yet the parade leaders just gave away 7.5 million public dollars to Oxbow’s private golf course community and promise to give them another 60 million before Minnesota’s decision is made.
In the story the parade continues even after the truth is finally told. The FM Dam and Diversion parade will end if the DNR refuses to permit the dam. No elected leader should be able to claim surprise, or that they relied on bad advice if, after 100 million tax dollars are spent and Oxbow is bought off, Fargo’s Dam is vetoed by Minnesota. Who will be accountable if Fargo remains unprotected, still in need of the clay dike in front of City Hall, while Oxbow’s publicly funded private golf course is surrounded by 16 foot 70 million dollar unnecessary ring dike?