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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

Injunction Junction – Fargo Dam and FM Diversion

Injunction Junction

Injunction junction, what’s your function? To halt the DA, without compunction.

Injunction junction, how’s that function? It puts a cork in all of their unction.

Ah, Schoolhouse Rock: classic stuff. As is the comeuppance dished out September 7th by Judge Tunheim to both the Corps and the Diversion Authority (the DA). Perhaps it wouldn’t be politically correct of me to point out that it was self-absorbed arrogance and myopic, unilateral project planning and decision making on the DA’s part that led to the injunction. So, in bowing to the PC gods, I will refrain from doing so. However, it does seem fair to suggest that the DA’s denial that it needed to obtain a permit from Minnesota to dam up the Red River is permission enough for many thoughtful folk to say, “I told you so!”

Remember how they didn’t need no stinking permit and how Minnesota’s leadership just didn’t understand and how they complied with the Minnesota permit filing requirement ‘out of comity?’ Well, comity has led to comedy. For example, in an October 15, 2017 Forum article by Tom Dawson (read more…), he alludes to the work of his committee (The FM Chamber’s Business Leader’s Task Force) and the ‘humility’ with which it approached same. Now, that’s a knee slapper! To be fair, I can’t claim that I know much about his committee. However, I have watched the DA, the Corps, the Chamber, the Forum and their many minions for years and have yet to witness a whole lot of ‘humility’. Humbug I have seen aplenty: humility, not so much.

But perhaps I am just missing those signs of modesty, humbleness, meekness and diffidence (aka humility) that the governing class recognizes as dutiful servility and submissiveness. When information about the upstream dam was withheld from the taxpayers prior to the vote on the county-wide sales tax, I suppose it’s possible the decision to do so was made with great humility but mark me as a skeptic. The same goes for the rigging of the vote on the $725 million DPAC assessment to Fargo and Cass County residents: “I come before this committee to humbly submit this plan to screw over all those ignorant but forgiving taxpayers to the tune of $725 million. All in favor, meekly affirm by saying “Yah, Ubet! Please hold all humbugs.”

And then there is the Oxbow project, the humble little workaday remake of a failing golf course into a modest, private, $40 million ($50 million? More?) 18-hole championship course, all taxpayer funded. I submit that to suggest that one is likely to encounter any level of humility or modesty within the confines of the Oxbow country club strains credulity. This group knows they won the lottery when our appointed betters on the diversion authority board approved this boondoggle before securing permitting. In addition to building this extravagant private playground for the well-heeled, the DA also replaced something like 40 homes at an average cost of over $1 million each. Yes, we paid for that, too. Of course, that $40-plus million doesn’t include the infrastructure costs for streets, water sewer and the like, costs that add at least another $100,000 per lot, all taxpayer paid. And, on top of all that, we taxpayers paid for the removal of the previous homes, most of which were picked up and moved off site. It has made for a veritable parade of mobile homes leaving Oxbow, all good enough for lesser folk to live in but no longer good enough for the likes of Oxbow. Another knee-slapper, no?

If the DA’s media lapdog, the Forum, was capable of objective investigative journalism, if it really looked into and reported on the true machinations of the diversion project’s leadership instead of poking its accusatory finger in the eyes of Governor Dayton and the Minnesota DNR, this stuff would be old news to you. But its cheerleading, its support for the project, is so extensive that when the estimated local project share rose from $450 million to $1.2 billion in a matter of only a month or two, the Forum made scant mention of it.

Subsequent to the court’s granting of the injunction sought by Minnesota and the Richland-Wilkin JPA, the shift from comity to comedy is complete. Suddenly, the DA’s language mentions ‘collaboration’ and ‘cooperation’, words heretofore eschewed by project leaders. It wasn’t long ago when the Corps said, “The plan is the plan and the project is the project: there will be no changes.” Now, with hundreds of millions spent and the project stopped by court order, North Dakota and Minnesota are ‘in it together’ and the project can be changed to accommodate some of Minnesota’s concerns. And that stinking permit the DA didn’t need? Yep, turns out it needs it. Funny stuff!

The scramble for a solution is now on. It’s time to pull up a chair, bring out the popcorn and watch the hilarity ensue.

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