Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date: July 11th, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Perry Miller, Chairman Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
“You cannot keep filling the bucket with more and more projects through authorization without figuring out a way to fund them,” said Darrell Vanyo, head of the Diversion Authority. We agree. Let’s not authorize the Fargo project and add another project to the 1,000-plus that have already been authorized by Congress – projects that are not paid for and will likely never get done. I’m guessing that’s not what he had in mind.
The federal government has not been able to pass a farm bill, deal with immigration reform, or maintain interest rates on student loans. How is the Water Resources Development Act going to get approved? The Senate passed the WRDA bill, but that’s easy when you don’t have to come up with the money to pay for it. The House of Representatives does. If the House does pass the bill, only good will may accompany it. Money is not likely to be forthcoming.
Flood protection for the city of Fargo isn’t as bleak. With in-town levees already on the drawing board and funded by the state, the city can be protected. If Fargo would quit building in the flood plain south of town, this protection can be maintained. Although Commissioner Vanyo has said retention will never be part of the project, he may want to rethink that.
The U.S. Army Corps says that basin-wide protection is the solution to protecting Minot, so it must be part of the solution for the Red River Valley as well. All the dollars the Diversion Authority wants to spend flooding the farms and communities south of Fargo should be redirected to a basin-wide approach that can be completed long before the federal government will pay their share of the diversion. The people who will profit from the diversion need to take a hard look at what’s likely and what’s possible before it all slips away.