by author: Leah Rogne, Mankato, MN
I agree with The Forum’s Dec. 22 editorial that the diversion OK by the Army Corps of Engineers chief is more than a gift. The squandering of good-hearted Fargo and Cass County taxpayers’ dollars on planning for the diversion is the “gift that keeps on giving.”
It is no surprise to anyone who has been following the Metro Flood Study Work Group’s dog-and-pony show over the past few years that the chief would recommend the project. You pay the dog with good red meat (cash and the prospect of a big engineering project in a day when all the good dams and reservoirs have already been built), and the dog will dance.
Opponents of the project aren’t the least bit disheartened by the chief’s report. It’s hardly news. The corps was paid to develop a project. That the chief would approve it was a bureaucratic inevitability – no victory, no gift.
I think when it’s all said and done, ordinary people in Fargo will find that this so-called gift was really coal in their stockings (coal that they have paid for). They will find that they have been denied a reasonable plan with a reasonable level of protection for people in the region because development interests in Fargo want to continue to build on land that is notoriously flood prone and to do it at taxpayers’ expense.
Meanwhile, Moorhead bit the bullet and soon will have taken care of virtually all its flooding problems using local and state dollars. Room for the F-M area to grow? Plentiful on the Minnesota side.
I also agree when The Forum stated that “the overall design and purpose of the diversion should be clear to anyone who chooses to see.” The design promotes development of land on the flood plain in Fargo at the expense of the continued existence and future development of rural communities in Cass, Richland, Clay, and Wilkin counties. The chief’s report changes nothing.
Rogne, Ph.D., is professor of sociology at Minnesota State University Mankato. Her family farms near Kindred, N.D.