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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Diverting an Obsession

A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth. - Albert Einstein

Diverting the truth is a methodical obsession for Fargo Dam and FM Diversion proponents.

It’s not just about the PR spin, it’s about the core belief and creation of “data” that is being used as the justification for a plan that will not benefit 80 percent of North Dakota taxpayers and 99.96 percent of American taxpayers.

It really centers around “obfuscation” which is the hiding of intended meaning in communication, making communication confusing, wilfully ambiguous, and harder to interpret.

In a Fargo Forum article dated February 23rd, 2013 Rodger Olson (a Diversion Authority member) stated:

“The plan is start using whatever we can to get the message out,”

So where was all this transparency three to four years ago?

Where was this willingness to divulge truthfully that Fargo and the Corps plan on constructing a 12+ mile wide high hazard dam?

Where was the honesty on its initial location, costs, alignments, impacts, crop insurance, flow-age easements…etc..?

Where was the public information on upstream impacts prior to the Cass County sales tax vote?

Where is the truth about the methodical destruction of property value to upstream interest as part of the process?

Where is the economic benefit to Minnesota when tax dollars are invested into flood protection for Fargo, ND?

Where is the admission that upstream interests were denied a seat and vote at the table in the formulation of a plan that is clearly designed for their destruction?

Where is the due process in not allowing upstream interests the right the testify at Kent Conrad’s budget hearing or at the Civil Work Revue Board in Washington?

Where is the acknowledgement that Fargo’s encroachment into the natural flood plain is the primary underlying cause of the majority of Fargo’s flood threat?

It’s not about “getting the message out”…, it’s about contriving information and only disseminating things that support the idea of the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion.

In the same article, Kevin Campbell lamented:

“the people who have no data are winning the public argument”.

What a cowardly statement from a politician who has let his Minnesota constituents down.

In August 2004 the FMUS (Fargo Moorhead Upstream Feasibility Study) was initiated and Phase 1a was disseminated in 2005.

The most interesting points determined within the study indicate that approximately 200,000-400,000 acre feet of storage could reduce the peak 1% chance stages in Fargo by up to 1.6 feet (18 inches).

When it comes to who has the data…, one has question why the United States Army Corps of Engineers would intentionally withhold information and data from taxpayers and decision makers.

Why would the USACE only approve and make readily available a 6 page FMUS Peer Review Plan that originally contained 16 pages <view original>?

USACE Approved Version of the FMUS – 6 Pages (download pdf)

Original FMUS Phase 1 – 16 pages (download pdf)

Ironically, the Fargo-Moorhead and Upstream (FMUS) agreement was terminated by the co-sponsors in January, 2013, before a Feasibility Report was completed. Yet, the diversion authority chose to fund Lance Yohe and Red River Basin Commission with an additional $500,000 dollars to begin a new study to identify upstream retention sites, that may already have been identified…?

It is rather peculiar that the USACE would cite the FMUS in the EIS, SDEIS and FEIS as well as testify in a hearing before the Subcommittee of the Committee on Appropriations of the United States Senate on May 27, 2009 in Fargo, ND and not incorporate those known quantified benefits into the locally preferred plan.


Prepared Statement of Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker: Exhibit A of this testimony reveals the past 50 years of flooding in Fargo-Moorhead, it shows that 2009 was a 100 year event or greater. This year’s flood also reflected a recent phenomena–8 days from our first flood stage of 18 feet to a crest of 40.82 feet, and 3 weeks earlier than previous predictions.


Mr. Peterson.One last question, Colonel. We had some meetings yesterday and last evening, and it was on this upstream study that was done earlier or I don’t know if it was completed or what exactly happened. But somebody had mentioned and I think somebody mentioned this at one of our other meetings that–and I want to understand if this is correct–that if you had 400,000 acre feet of storage upstream, it would only affect the crest 1.6 feet. Is that correct?Colonel Christensen. Those are the figures I have heard, sir.

Mr. Peterson. That doesn’t seem possible.

Colonel Christensen. For the 100-year flood.

Mr. Peterson. Pardon?

Colonel Christensen. For the 100-year flood, 1.6 feet.


In the Independent Peer Review (released December 23rd, 2011) the USACE indicated that others have conducted additional analyses and reached similar conclusions, particularly in looking for ways to offset the potential impacts of the diversion project.

So if the Diversion Authority is really looking for ways to reduce flood impacts to Fargo, then perhaps completing the internal diking projects to 42.5′ and adding the 1.6 feet (18 inches) as determined in the FMUS, in the form of upstream distributed storage, would be the most viable way to proceed with more than adequate flood protection for Fargo while preserving Pleasant township, its farms, communities and taxpaying residents.

It appears that the Diversion Authority, Fargo, Cass County and the USACE are expecting “blind faith” in the information they disseminate.

Albert Einstein – “A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”

However, the Diversion Authority, Fargo, Cass County and the USACE also seem to revile questions that threaten to expose the reality of what they’ve attempted to contrive.

The simple nonsense of using “experts” to elicit an EOE study to justify the intentional downgrading of the 100+ year flood in 2009 to roughly a 50 year flood to augment a cost benefit ratio to pass the cost/benefit muster in Washington is ONE of MANY examples, wherein, any other entity would be guilty of constructive fraud.

The mere fact that selected “experts” value the driest years on record at around 20 percent and the wettest years around 80 percent illustrates poor scientific methods and how diversion proponents are actively engaged in diverting the truth about the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion.

To the fallacy that “all alternatives have been explored”…

Where is feasibility study detailing the building of internal Fargo flood protection to 42.5′ in conjunction with upstream distributed storage offering up to an additional 1.6 feet (18 inches) of benefit?

The obsession that Fargo and the Diversion Authority has with the diversion is very concerning when they intentionally divert attention away from the truth to solicit funds from taxpayers, the State Legislature and potentially U.S. Congress.

Albert Einstein is right! “A foolish faith in authority is the worst enemy of truth.”

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2 Responses to “ Diverting an Obsession ”

  1. The spin put on the “diversion project” makes me dizzy!

  2. Sound argument well researched. Sure glad you are on our side Marcus. We’ll have to come up with something special for you at the awards ceremony as soon as this boondoggle is finally put to rest.

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