In an article that appeared in Diversion Discussion – Area Voices:
Fargo-Moorhead leaders said Tuesday they’re frustrated by the protest effort because they don’t feel rural residents have acknowledged metro officials’ positive strides to reduce the project’s impacts.
Fargo Moorhead leaders have to face facts. The proposed project is not a foregone conclusion and the local sponsors will spend millions defending a flawed proposal rather than resolving a boondoggle they created.
Fargo Moorhead leaders have not made a genuine effort to reduce impacts to affected communities and landowners in protest.
Quite the contrary!
The Fargo Dam and FM Diversion has devolved from Diversion Authority Chair, Darrell Vanyo’s March 31st, 2011 letter to Richland County Commission claiming “According to the COE, their preferred alignment north of Oxbow does not produce any negative impacts south of Highway 46.” ~ to a current day potential 13 mile wide by 22.5 mile long reservoir behind two high risk dam control structures and notoriously unstable levee material.
The charades, motions and rhetoric that local leaders are going through in an attempt to distract and dissuade virtuos opponents will not deter the legal challenge that has been brought against the project.
Fargo Moorhead leaders had an opportunity from the outset to include affected landowners in a voting capacity to formulate a plan that will work for the entire Red River Basin.
The mere fact that upstream and downstream stakeholders were excluded from the scoping and initial plan formulation is a stark reminder of the real intention of local leaders and the Diversion Authority.
Removal of the “high risk dam” features from the proposed project would be a step in the right direction in building trust between affected property owners and an aggressive and adversarial Diversion Authority.
Cass County Administrator Keith Berndt:
“All the publicity surrounding the potential litigation: That’s a few hundred people or a few thousand people who don’t like the project,” “There’s a few hundred-thousand people who’ll be protected and that like the project.”
• Total disregard for individual property rights.
• Fatal assumption that the “few hundred thousand” people, that were
denied a right to vote on the proposed project, actually support the proposed project.
• Marginalization of land owner opposition that have already suffered a financial
loss without just compensation as a result of all the publicity in favor
• Political ignorance in thinking that property owners and taxpayers are
willing to shell out $20,000 to $40,000 in special assessments to
fund the Fargo Moorhead Dam and FM Diversion.
• Myopic optimism that property owners will fund the escalating maintenance
costs which could exceed $6 million annually, if and when the proposed project
were ever completed.
Col. Michael Price, USACE ( Corps of Engineers )
“We have full confidence we’re in good shape,” ~ to Fargo-Moorhead leaders, shrugging off threats of a legal challenge.
A cocky reply from a public servant. We would expect nothing less from the the Army Corps of Engineers after millions of dollars in deficient studies and procedural maneuvers that have been assembled in favor of local sponsor economic development interests in the last natural flood plain adjacent to Fargo which still provides vital flood protection to the metro area.
The staggering reality, if Fargo had developed the last natural flood plain adjacent to Fargo by 2009 the flood fight would have been lost as result of that development.
Can Fargo really afford further intrusion into the last natural flood plain adjacent to the city when surrounding higher ground is more fiscally responsible and advantageous to develop?