What It Means: Major Ruling in Diversion Lawsuit

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It’s a major development in the fight for permanent flood protection in the Red River Valley.

A federal judge has tossed out part of a lawsuit filed by a group that’s trying to stop the diversion project.

At first glance the ruling looks like bad news for the challengers, whose motion for summary judgement was thrown out.

But they say it’s not.

“The Minnesota state EIR is a different process, and it’s one we believe is much more in–depth,” says Nathan Berseth with Upstream Coalition.

The lawsuit addresses whether or not the Army Corps of Engineers followed all the necessary steps when it chose the route for the diversion, which goes over many miles of the valley and creates a holding tank area over a lot of upstream farmland.

The judge’s ruling says the Corps did what it was supposed to. 

But upstream coalition folks say the ruling also means they have to go back and take the Minnesota DNR’s environmental findings into account, which they believe will help their cause.

“It’s a different process that the Minnesota DNR uses,” says Berseth. “And we say it’s much more comprehensive and going to give us an option that’s less harmful, better overall. And we claim less costly.”

Upstreamers say they won’t be appealing this part of the lawsuit.

Diversion authority officials say they believe this is a clear-cut sign this is the right flood plan for the Red River Valley and that the Minnesota’s diversion plan has already been considered and dismissed.

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