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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Defending Richland and Wilkin counties January 16th, 2014

Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
January 16th, 2014

Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin JPA

When you drive south of Fargo on Interstate 29, you see the giant steel poles that are part of the CAPX2020 power line project.

The high voltage line will move electricity between eastern North Dakota and the Twin Cities. Its original path was to follow Interstate 94 from St. Cloud, Minn., to near Mapleton, N.D., but Fargo asked that the route be changed. They asked that it be moved south of their proposed diversion and dam. It seems unusual that the power line would be built where there would be almost 10 feet of water.

The reason is revealed in the June 20, 2011 and Jan. 9, 2012 letters to the North Dakota Public Service Commission from Fargo’s Mayor Walaker: “The 300-foot-wide easements obtained for the CapX project will have prohibitions and restrictions that preclude development. The presence of the very tall structures in the wrong location (inside the area protected by the Metro Flood Project) will impair development beyond the width of the easements themselves … we prefer that such land not be consumed by the easements, with their restrictions on development, acquired by CapX and development of that land not be impaired by the presence of the CapX structures.”

In other words, get the poles off our land.

From the PSC’s executive summary Oct. 3, 2011: “Stakeholders (Fargo) also requested that the company consider a route that followed the proposed diversion channel. In response, the company developed a corridor west of West Fargo and east of Mapleton.” The development area west of West Fargo and east of Mapleton now get the “prohibitions and restrictions that preclude development” thanks to Fargo’s request.

Walaker was very pleased when the mitigation for the new location was not to be paid for by Fargo. “It would be unfortunate if Metro Flood Project sponsors were asked to mitigate against the impacts caused by staged water at project sponsors’ expense. We have been informed by CapX representatives that they will account for the possibility of floodwaters in their design and no mitigation will be necessary. We are pleased with that response as well.” Fargo is “pleased” that others will pay for their city’s development. How neighborly of them.

The behavior pattern of Fargo city leaders is the same whether it’s the CAPX2020 power line, or their proposed diversion. It appears someone has to lose, in order for them to win. The Red River Valley is a small area in a very large world. If we’re going to succeed as a region we should do it together.

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