Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
October 11th, 2012
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Author: Scott Hendrickson, Chairman, MNDAK Upstream Coalition
Last week the Fargo Diversion Authority publicly floated the idea of a 9 to 17 foot ring dike for Oxbow/Hickson/Bakke. I believe this issue was rolled out by Fargo leaders for the same reason they promised to consider moving the Diversion inlet south to Highway 46: to discourage the open opposition to their plan.
The past few months have seen several developments that are very encouraging to those of us in harm’s way of Fargo’s plan to build a dam and 80 square mile reservoir. Moorhead and Minnesota have effectively signaled that they will not be paying the 10 percent they promised. Several members of our Federal Congressional delegations from both Minnesota and North Dakota have spoken privately to our leaders, expressing their reservations and doubts that funding will ever be approved if the project includes dams and an 80-square-mile reservoir. We are in contact with our state legislators in Minnesota and North Dakota and they are telling us much the same. Some of you recall Fargo Representative Jim Kasper standing and publicly saying precisely that to Commissioner Darrell Vanyo at the Fargo Diversion Authority meeting on Sept. 13.
On another front the Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority has directed their attorney to file the lawsuit to challenge the project. This will be forthcoming shortly. Additionally, the JPA intends to be, through our lawyers, very supportive of the MN DNR in its approval process. If the MN DNR refuses to permit this dam to be constructed on the Red River – it will not be built.
In conclusion, there is ample evidence that our continued unified opposition will prevent this dam from ever being approved or funded. It is therefore no coincidence that Fargo’s leaders suddenly did an about face, publicly suggesting a 17-foot ring dike for Oxbow. I speak for the entire Board of Directors of MnDak Upstream Coalition, we are unified in our belief this is nothing more than a subterfuge, no different from the Highway 46 inlet suggestion, designed to divide or break the effective opposition we have organized.
We are confident that if we stay united as a community we will be able to show the state that Fargo may construct permanent flood protection, even a diversion, without the destructive dam and 80 square mile reservoir. Consequently, there will be no reason for a 17-foot-high ring dike around Oxbow/Bakke/Hickson.