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Heitkamp passes the buck on diversion
Submitted By: Trana Rogne
KINDRED, N.D. — After 100 days in office, we know now the position of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., on the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion project.
The statement from her local office was, “We will continue to press for federal funding for flood protection, and let the local authorities determine how to best use those funds.”
We are very disappointed with her statement. After all, she knows that North Dakota under her leadership passed the most protective eminent domain law in the nation, one that prohibits the government from taking private property for economic development.
She also understands the overriding purpose of the project. It is spelled out as a plan which would provide for future growth, remove flood insurance from the largest possible area and increase the density of the proposed development.
She must recognize the fundamental injustice of taking away upstream property owners’ development rights and giving those rights to Fargo.
And I’m sure she understands as well the basinwide positive results from the completion of new basinwide flood-risk reduction projects using distributed retention. Plus, Heitkamp also knows that more is possible through the Farm Bill she is working for.
The most disturbing implication of the statement “let the local authorities determine how to best use the funds” is the fact that by saying this, Heitkamp is giving up of her power as a U.S. senator to oversee the use of federal funds.
The plan was designed under the direct control of the “local non-federal sponsor,” as the Diversion Authority is called in the documents, and is for benefit of the Fargo metro area only.
None of this is really new — except for the abdication of the duties and responsibilities of a U.S. senator.