Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date:
October 18th, 2012
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Author: Perry Miller, a Richland County commissioner, and chairman of the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority.
The most recent proposal by the Diversion Authority is to put a 12- to 17-foot ring dike around the communities of Hickson, Oxbow and Bakke. When the dam is being operated, the communities would be completely surrounded by 8 feet of water. The people of these communities aren’t the only ones who need convincing. The Diversion Authority pressed their plea to the U.S. Army Corps because their policy is to ring dike water no more than 3 feet deep. Safety is the issue. Where do you go if the dike breaks and you are surrounded by 8 feet of water? Fargo has decided that ring dikes won’t work for them.
But contrasts and contradictions are not new to the Diversion Authority. It’s alright to protect 30-square miles for economic development for Fargo, but it’s wrong for rural dwellers to protect their farms, businesses, and communities. It makes sense to reduce the productivity and future development of 50,000 acres of agricultural land, so, in the words of a Corps spokesman, “We can still shop in Fargo during a flood.” The Diversion Authority said it’s their job to protect the region’s residents, but it’s not their responsibility to warn of plans to flood rural residents before they vote on sales taxes for funding.
The most unkind contrast is that some people’s communities are more valuable than others, and perhaps most offensive, is that one’s future can be dictated by another. This is Fargo’s project, and they seem determined to make all the decisions about who wins and who loses. What is sauce for the goose, should be sauce for the gander.