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Defending Richland and Wilkin counties September 19th, 2013

Fargo Demands a Seat at the Table

Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority
Original Publication Date: September 19th, 2013
Wahpeton Daily News
Republished with permission from:
Editorial Team, Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority

The Diversion Authority is seeking to intervene in the law suit filed against the Army Corps by the Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority. The reason taxpayers will need to pony up nearly $100,000.00 in legal fees was explained by Diversion Authority Chairman Vanyo: “We want a seat at the table.”

The Richland Wilkin JPA is the organization that represents 40 communities and political entities that are in harm’s way of Fargo’s proposed high hazard dam. These political entities banded together to defend communities like Comstock, MN. Comstock is on high ground, well above the 500 year flood level. Chairman Vanyo and the Army Corps recently unveiled their plans to ring dike that community as they intend to flood the area behind Fargo’s dam. Vanyo invited no one from Comstock to the table for that decision. Likewise, Wilkin County Commissioners were recently given blue prints of Fargo’s planned ring dike of Wolverton, MN. No one from Wolverton or the Wilkin County Commission was asked to the table to participate prior to this decision. Bakke and Hickson were asked to the table to voice whether they would consent to a ring dike. However, when Vanyo and his crew heard the answer was “no,” these communities were shown the door. Vanyo then switched roles and, donning his Cass County Commissioner hat, decided the county should take the decision away from Hickson–Bakke’s majority. Of the 40 communities, counties, townships, cities and school districts in Minnesota and North Dakota that make up the Richland Wilkin Joint Powers Authority, not one has a seat at the table.

These are the communities being sacrificed for Fargo’s future development of the flood plain. If you recall, Vanyo and his organization convinced the Army Corps to more than double the foot print of Fargo’s project, expanding it from 31 square miles to over 70. Every undeveloped acre of flood plain Fargo drains behind its dam – will flood someone else’s acre south of the dam.

The lawsuit was filed only after Vanyo and Fargo’s Diversion Authority refused to give impacted communities any voice in the decision and design process. Vanyo wants a “seat at the table” so he can continue to make sure no one else gets one. This is not how we treat neighbors in our community.

Our neighbors are having a fund raiser and steak fry in Christine, ND, this Sunday, September 22, from 5 to 9 p.m.

Please join us at the table in the Christine Community Center on Sunday.


 

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