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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Forum Editorial is Foolish About SB-2076

Braying Jack-Ass Award In the Forum’s Jan 28th, 2015 political agenda driven diatribe, they attempt to denigrate Sen. Larry Luick, R-Fairmount, Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton and Rep. Wesley Belter, R-Fargo, for sponsoring a common sense bill that will provide answers, that are more than five years overdue, relating to  impacts created outside the “red-box” drawn by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The “red box” being the arbitrary line that defines who will receive mitigation and who will not.

Despite the thousands of pages of studies and reports assembled by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, they are both deficient and negligent in providing documentation to address factual impacts outside the arbitrary “red box”.

Impacts outside the “red-box” have not been thoroughly studied, quantified or included in the overall cost/benefit ratio on which the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project is based.

With hundreds of millions of dollars being handed to Fargo, state legislators and taxpayers deserve to know how that money will affects rural economies, land owners and agricultural production…, and SB-2076 (read more…) will do just that.

Here is the Forum Editorial and commentary:

Forum editorial: Diversion study bill is foolish
Posted on Jan 28, 2015 at 11:28 p.m.
Legislation calling for yet another expensive study of the Fargo-Moorhead diversion – and whether a diversion is needed – should be defeated. It would be a waste of money.

 

And yet…, not one study exists that quantifies the financial and social impacts to landowners impacted outside the “red box”, or defines a viable mitigation plan, process and payment associated to impacts created by the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion.

To date mitigation, delayed plant, yield loss and multi-peril insurance have not been addressed.

It would be refreshing to see taxpayer funds used to clearly define “exactly” why known historical crests and FEMA 100 year flood levels do not agree with the Corps “fabricated” EOE (Expert Opion Elicitation) flood levels and how Fargo’s continued encroachment into the last natural flood plain south of Fargo will only serve to increase future flood threats and flood insurance requirements for metro area residents.

Forum Editorial Staff:
It would be a faux feel-good exercise that would unearth no new information.

 

On the contrary. An independent study done by an independent engineering firm, bench-marked to historical crests and FEMA flood levels could illustrate severe data corruption tied to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers EOE (Expert Opinion Elicitation) study data, which was used to generate a favorable cost/benefit ratio, overstate flood levels and justify the proposed development project – disguised as flood control.

Forum Editorial Staff:
It would be the worst sort of political pandering by legislators who apparently haven’t got the courage to tell the truth to constituents whose undisguised aim is to kill the flood protection project at any cost.

 

Typical Fargo Diversion Authority mouthpiece rhetoric sung by the Forum’s editorial board. The very editorial board that panders to Fargo’s development whims, that also lacks the courage to apply journalistic integrity in disseminating the true impacts and costs associated to the Fargo Dam and FM Diversion.

Opponents living within and outside of Fargo, ND feel that Fargo’s priority should be protecting the city that exists with the funds currently available. Yet the Fargo Forum continues its inane, obtuse inability to demand protection for the city of Fargo that exists today…, and not the city Fargo wants 50 years from now.

Forum Editorial Staff:
And that means any cost to taxpayers. No matter what the bill’s sponsors say about saving money by not doing a duplicative study, a new study would cost a bundle, and would be duplicative. The data gathered by a new study would merely be a compilation of work that has already been done by several state and federal agencies, regional water management districts and contracted private engineering companies.

 

The Fargo Diversion Authority has spent in excess of $131,186,185 as of January 31st, 2015.

Curiously, the Fargo Forum hasn’t said boo about U.S. Army Corps of Engineer study modeling versions 1-7, which was supposed to be done right the first time. Isn’t it ironic that the project “need” and “cost/benefit ratio” were based on earlier, imperfect versions? Yet the Fargo Diversion Authority continues to spend millions on the very same engineering firms and project managers for studies that are aligned with the project, seeking various ways to justify their actions?

Where was the Fargo Forums journalistic integrity when the Fargo Diversion Authority purchased Hayden Heights Land in West Fargo, ND for $484,016.00, made a tax payment of $166,874.29, then sold the property at a -$240,166.11 loss?

Where is the “outrage” for re-directing millions to subsidize the Oxbow golf course and ring dike before completing vitally needed internal flood protection in Fargo?

Forum Editorial Staff:
A little honesty, please, would be nice.

 

Yes…, a little “DAM” truth would be nice!

Forum Editorial Staff:
Sen. Larry Luick, R-Fairmount, is lead on the bill, which has other sponsors. The senator represents part of the area where landowners and others have been trying to kill the diversion. He justifies his legislation by contending there is a lack of independent information about the project. That’s a lot of hooey.

 

The only “hooey” being slung is by the Fargo Forum.

Fargo could easily protect itself by completing internal flood protection by building a substantial dike from east to west just south or north of Davies.

On average, the water would be shallower than the water depth outside the arbitrary “red-box” during a 500 year event, because the flood plain would be serving its natural purpose.

FEMA has warned project leaders about encroachment into the natural flood plain, yet developers have the ear of local leaders willing to risk the balance of the entire metro area for the sake of growing Fargo’s borders at all costs.

Forum Editorial Staff:
If ever a project has been studied thoroughly, it’s the diversion.

 

There is no question that the defined goal has been studied thoroughly.

However, the issue is that the study is myopic, and has systematically ignored project alternatives that don’t support Fargo’s growth plan.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers openly admitted:

3.4.7.3.1 The initial diversion concept presented in May 2009 was a passive diversion
channel without an operable river control structure; this concept was not economically
justified with a benefit to cost ratio of approximately 0.65. All of the subsequent
diversion concepts included a river control structure that dramatically improved
performance with a modest increase in cost. Therefore, no diversions lacking a
control structure were carried forward.

Forum Editorial Staff:
Not only have the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other federal agencies studied and approved the project but a preliminary report by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources concluded the surface retention aspect project opponents have been touting can’t work. The DNR has not been friendly to the project, so its retention report is more than credible.

 

A total misrepresentation of the Draft DNR Distributed Storage Alternative (DSA) report.

The report heralds the benefit of Distributed Retention.

DNR DSA Excerpt:

“Distributed Storage is an excellent basin-wide approach to provide local flood protection and should be pursued wherever feasible.”

 

The MN DNR Distributed Storage Alternative (DSA) report did not indicate a position on whether the project is appropriate or acceptable, it merely concluded that the Distributed Storage Alternative (DSA) did not meet the stated goals of the project.

One only has to ask a fundamental question…, is the project to protect the city that exists…, or is it a development project disguised as flood control to foster encroachment into the last natural flood plain south of Fargo, ND…?

After-all,  two independent studies, conducted nearly a decade apart, indicate distributed retention would lower a 100 year flood crest in Fargo by over 19 inches, while providing local benefits adjacent to and downstream of the retention projects.

Forum Editorial Staff:
What Luick and others seem to want is a manipulated study that will find what they want to find, whether it’s there or not. Such work would be akin to the way tobacco companies conducted health-effects studies of smoking.

 

Yet another false and hypocritical statement from the mouthpiece of the Fargo Diversion Authority. All of the Corps studies to date have been “goal oriented” to manipulate support for a project that fosters future encroachment into the last natural flood plain south of Fargo, ND.

SB-2076 (read more…) in a nutshell, is to respectfully quantify project impacts outside the arbitrary “red-box”. Something that the Fargo Diversion Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have refused to address.

What the Fargo Diversion Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have proven is that placing trust in their “science” is more akin to handing an arsonist a gallon of gas and box of matches and then telling them to be good.

The underlying question is.., will they be socially good…, or good at what they do…?

Forum Editorial Staff:
Finally, among the sponsors of the foolish and potentially expensive bill are Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton, and Rep. Wesley Belter, R-Fargo, who represent the rural/suburban district adjacent to Fargo and West Fargo.

 

Kudos to Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton, Rep. Wesley Belter, R-Fargo, Sen. Larry Luick, R-Fairmount, for looking past pro-project rhetoric and sponsoring SB-2076 (read more…). A bill that will help fill in the intentional blanks “foolishly” left by the Fargo Diversion Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Forum Editorial Staff:
A portion of the diversion channel would be constructed in their district. Both legislators seem ready to put at risk permanent flood protection for Fargo, Moorhead and the metro’s environs.

 

On the contrary! Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton and Rep. Wesley Belter, R-Fargo, are not “rolling over” for the sake of being Fargo’s lap-dog.

What a terrible conflict of interest! Isn’t it curious that the Fargo Forum is willing to assail Sen. Gary Lee, R-Casselton and Rep. Wesley Belter, R-Fargo, with “wild allegations” of risking permanent flood protection, yet have ignored Fargo’s utter failure in completing internal flood protection that could have addressed mandatory flood insurance requirements.

Forum Editorial Staff:
Unlike legislators upstream from the project, Lee and Belter should know better. Indeed, what seems to be their tendency to oppose the diversion is enough to question their fitness for re-election.

 

How typical and immature of the Fargo Forum to attack legislators in attempt to sway confidence with overtones of re-election peer pressure.

The greater concern is the growing regional monopoly and political agenda exerted by Forum Communications with:

30 newspapers
20 shoppers
3 agriculture publications
1 monthly business magazine

Forum Communication bias’, political agenda and lack of investigative journalism often run contrary to the best interest of the public at large. Which is clearly evident in their lack of tension with the proposed Fargo Dam and FM Diversion project.

That lack of tension with the project fails every taxpayer and reader, and ensures that diversion related conflict of interest will never be exposed.

Forum Editorial Staff:
Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.

 

Forum editorials represent the abandonment of any journalistic integrity and have earned the Fargo Forum the first braying Jack-Ass award of 2015.

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