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FM Diversion and Dam Increases national debt

ND HB 1020 Passes House in Bill Vote 90 to 4

House Bill 1020

The North Dakota House passed House Bill 1020 containg State Water Commission funding for the next two years, the vote passed 90-4.

Dissenting votes were few:

House representatives voting against were:

Chuck Damschen, R-Hampden,
Ben Hanson, D-West Fargo
Dwight Kiefert, R-Valley City
Jim Schmidt, R-Mandan

Representative Bob Skarphol, Tioga, ND indicated that the State Water Commission’s budget bill was amended so that no money can be spent on property acquisition or ring dikes in the area south of Fargo that will be affected by the diversion.

The budget includes $100 million dollars for Fargo to raise its diking system to 42 and a half feet.

In typical Fargo Forum four alarm fear fest, headlines include politically charged sensationalism like “diversion killing”, “scuttle” and “misinformation”.

Not dissimilar from the earlier opinions of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board in applauding that upstream interests not being allowed to testify at the Civil Works Review Board on September 23rd, 2011 or Kent Conrad’s budget hearing August 10, 2011.

The North Dakota State Legislature faces a unique set of challenges, wherein, federal funding may never come in a $16.6 trillion dollar (and growing) national debt and more than 30-60 projects ahead of Fargo’s incomplete study and design.

House Bill 1020 provides financial assistance to Fargo so they may complete dikes, levees and flood walls to 42.5 feet and provide Fargo with more than adequate flood protection for its residents and businesses.

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3 Responses to “ ND HB 1020 Passes House in Bill Vote 90 to 4 ”

  1. Ben Hanson from West Fargo was one of the North Dakota legislators who voted against HB 1020.

    The MnDak Upstream Coalition has held two forums on the FM project and he was not able to attend either one.

    Why did he vote for the FM plan? Was it out of ignorance or did he vote to subside the special interest who are involved in the Real estate market as he is/was a realtor.

    West Fargo will not benefit from this project in fact it hurts West Fargo by the diversion channels location.

    His vote was unfortunate for West Fargo tax payers as the project does not protect West Fargo. It in fact hurts West Fargo as it drives growth to south east Fargo. This is the very reason Davies HS was built there.

    This vote by Ben Hanson was only good for him personally as a realtor.

    Mndak upstream Coalition has in the past reached out to inform our legislators of the issues and our position. We still are open to discussions to inform legislators of the impact from the project.


  2. Ms. Rogne,

    I did not attend either forums that you mention because I was not made aware of them. I have searched my personal e-mail account, which you have, and found only one interaction in which I ask you and Nathan Berseth to keep me abreast of meetings with the upstream coalition on Feb 13th of 2012. I have not heard from you on that account since.

    You seemed to have no problem finding my government e-mail address recently but not before jotting down some borderline-slanderous thoughts on this website.

    Despite your kind speculation, it was not out of ignorance that I voted against 1020 on the House floor. Nor was it some comic-book villain scheme to enhance my real estate holdings as you seem to suggest. As I am a strictly commercial, not residential, Realtor and list properties all over the state and no just in the West Fargo, let alone the Cass County area. I would receive exactly zero benefit from any negative impact to West Fargo’s growth. There’s also my pesky morals which would stop me from wanting such wanton destruction to be the result of any vote I take.

    Instead, as I have been very clear about at every public forum I have attended back home (six now, I believe) and in my e-mail responses back to every single person who bothered to write me on the matter, I voted against the bill because it imposes state government over the direct will of the people I represent in multiple elections to use sales tax for such things as buyouts and because of the sloppiness with which Rep. Carlson inserted the amendments at the last minute into the Appropriations Committee without truly explaining his motivations to the public or the general assembly.

    I will not reward drastic changes to a bill which have clear flaws in them with a vote in hopes to ‘have it fixed in the Senate’.

    I will also continue to respond to anyone who writes me at my e-mail address and would not like to have to seek outside websites to find my name being dragged through the mud with bizarre mischaracterizations of alterative motives of personal gain being the reason behind my votes.

    -Rep. Ben Hanson

  3. Mr. Ben Hanson,
    It is highly unfortunate that you did not receive the emailed invitations to the forums. It was my understanding that they were sent to all local Legislators.

    Please read the following comments from West Fargo Leaders on the negative impacts to West Fargo. Please note that Fargo is protecting the natural flood plain for future development while reducing the future development area for West Fargo.

    “The city has already asked the Army Corp to consider moving the Diversion one-and-a-half miles to the west, but so far the Corp hasn’t budged. And the mayor told us the current diversion plans could be detrimental to the city.”

    “The Corps announced in December that it favored an alignment of the diversion project two miles east of previous proposals. West Fargo officials denounced the shift, saying it would impact the city’s Sheyenne Diversion and negatively impact future growth plans.”
    You state: “As I am a strictly commercial, not residential realtor…I would receive exactly zero benefit from any negative impact to West Fargo’s growth.”

    From the Appendix C FEIS July 2011, section 3.6 states: “The city (Fargo) will grow approximately 266 acres each year, approximately 52%of new development will be residential, while 48% will be commercial.” It is puzzling to see a West Fargo legislator voting to reduce West Fargo’s development and to increase Fargo development areas. We would be glad to continue discussion on the economic issues as they relate to all development in the Red River Basin.

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