Environmental Group Joins Diversion Appeal

A new environmental group has joined the fight against the Diversion Authority and the Minnesota DNR.

Just last week, the Richland–Wilkin Joint Powers Authority filed an appeal to the Minnesota DNR saying their environmental impact study was focused specifically to help the Diversion Project.

“They allowed the Fargo Diversion Authority to manipulate that study by narrowing the project focus so much to eliminate reasonable alternatives,” says RWJPA Liaison Cash Aaland.

The Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy has since joined in the RWJPA’s fight, saying the flood channel’s diversion into both Richland and Wilkin Counties is not in tune with Minnesota environmental law.

Cass County Engineer Jason Benson, who has worked directly with the Diversion Authority, said there have been numerous hoops to go through to make sure that the diversion is up to snuff.

“We’ve been working with the states of North Dakota and Minnesota and the Corps of Engineers throughout this whole process,” says Benson.

One major point for the two advocacy groups is that it will negatively impact the region’s economy, specifically in real estate and farming.

The groups want the Army Corps of Engineers to come up with a cheaper plan for taxpayers that won’t flood out farmland for people who need it the most.

Water rising in Wilkin and RIchland Counties can impact areas that were never flooded before.

“The entire northern part of Richland County and the northern part of Wilkin County in Minnesota, areas that have never flooded will be inundated by the temporary reservoir,” says Aaland.

But North Dakota Senator John Hoeven says that it’s a battle that both sides of the table are working on to protect the residents of the Peace Garden State.

“We have to recognize that dealing with all of the concerns is an ongoing process, but we have to keep moving forward and build permanent flood protection,” says Hoeven.

With this new challenge, people on both sides of the Red River have to wait and see what will happen next.

If you’re interested in more information about the Diversion project, click here.

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