Republished with permission from:Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
June 6th, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Perry Miller, Richland County Commissioner and Chairman, Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
We’ve heard the term “end game” tossed around many times. My guess is that it originally came from chess. Think 20 moves ahead and trap the opponent’s king and you get the endgame you wanted. I remember it in spy movies and books. The Soviet mole would get trapped on a bridge with secret documents after the counter intelligence agent planned the endgame far in advance.
What do you suppose the endgame is for the Diversion Authority? Their goal has been to build a $2 billion diversion project, with four spectacularly expensive river crossings, a drain to remove the water north of Fargo, and of course, the dam and reservoir that backs up water on 50,000 acres south of town.
Or is it?
Is it changing?
Fargo was successful in leaving no dollar unturned, and no arm untwisted in the recent legislative session in Bismarck. Fargo leaders received a commitment of $450 million from the state’s coffers for “flood control” for their city. This was argued to be half the non-federal, non-Minnesota share of the project. North Dakota’s money is contingent on federal authorization by Congress. Authorization doesn’t seem a far stretch, but the federal government’s $855 million doesn’t seem likely. Yet the delegation that toured our nation’s capital didn’t seem concerned about the money.
Why do you suppose that is?
Especially since the benefit/cost ratio for the project has dropped to $1.5/$1. Federal projects seldom get funded if their ratio is under $2.5/$1.
There is an idea floating around called the “$1 billion dollar, non-federally funded” diversion project. The outlet is built on the north side of Fargo. This will drain the area north of Harwood where the Red and Sheyenne rivers come together. Dikes are built to 42.5 feet through Fargo. Then the masterpiece of the project, the dam and reservoir, are built on the south side. The higher dikes through Fargo allow more water through town to replace part of the missing diversion channel. The dam stores more water for a longer period of time, magnifying lost property values.
How much longer will they store the water?
How much bigger will the pool be?
It’s not their problem, I guess. Perhaps authorization gives them the permits they need to dam the Red, and federal eminent domain authority to flood the land in the “staging area.”
Is this what the legislature was told the money was for?
Is this what the Minnesota DNR and governor’s office is being told?
How about the people of Fargo?
You’ve heard this line used before, but it may be time to say it again, “Is this how people in the Red River Valley treat their neighbors?”