Letter of the Day (Dec. 15): Red River flood control

  • Updated: December 14, 2013 - 2:00 PM

Opposition is strong and organized, and there are viable alternatives.

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RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER ¥ reneejones@startribune.com Fargo, Minn. - 3/17/10 - Preparations including dike building and sandbagging took place throughout Fargo and Moorhead Wednesday. IN THIS PHOTO] The Red River had risen to just below the bridge along County Road 8 south of Fargo Wednesday. ORG XMIT: MIN2013121315335141

Photo: RENEE JONES SCHNEIDER • Star Tribune,

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The rather rosy view painted by a Dec. 8 article on prospects for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project (“Water projects bill to authorize Red River diversion”) was far from accurate.

The diversion cannot be built without a permit from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, which is conducting its own environmental impact statement since it was not satisfied that the Army Corps of Engineers had adequately assessed alternatives to this project.

A Joint Powers Authority made up of more than 30 cities, towns, counties, school districts and organizations in two states has sued to stop the project on the basis that it violates federal law forbidding the use of federal funds to take land out of the natural flood plain for economic development — one of the critical issues also being assessed by the DNR.

A recent study by the Red River Basin Commission has pointed to the positive impact of small retention dams upstream on Red River Valley flooding. This, in combination with other less costly measures, provides a viable alternative to the $2 billion diversion project.

Opposition is strong and organized against this project. Even if the project is authorized by Congress, which is still handing out pork to districts all over the country for various public works, it will probably languish along with hundreds of others authorized but never funded.

LEAH ROGNE, Gheen, Minn.

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