Lawsuit Filed Over F-M Diversion - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Lawsuit Filed Over F-M Diversion

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Representatives of communities upstream of the proposed F-M Diversion are saying enough is enough. Today the Joint Powers Authority of Wilkin and Richland counties filed a lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers all in an attempt to derail the diversion project. They say the Corps is breaking the law by using hundreds of acres of farms, homes, and stretches of land as water storage to protect Fargo in the event of a flood. Valley News team's Eric Crest has the details.

For two years the J-P-A, the Joint Powers Authority, a Wilkin and Richland county collaboration has been trying to be heard. They worry that the Army Corp of Engineers is going to flood their property in an effort to keep Fargo dry.

"They don't have the answers to the questions. They're going ahead with out the answers and something had to be done to put a halt to this project," says Wilkin County Attorney Tim Fox.

The solution was for the J-P-A to file a civil action complaint stating the Corp, got it wrong.

"If we make a decision to remove land from a flood plain and flood other people that's contrary to what federal law is and state law is in Minnesota," says Fox.

"It's unfortunate that we have to file this lawsuit but our voices aren't being heard and this was our last alternative," says MNDAK Upstream Coalition member Nathan Berseth.

The lawsuit just filed has less to do with how to control the seasonal flooding of the Red River and more to do with the current proposal. The lawsuit takes aim at the Army Corp of Engineers solution which is the diversion. This lawsuit could stop the diversion before it even gets started.

"We're not trying to prevent Fargo from getting flood protection. We're attempting for everybody to have reasonable flood protection at a reasonable cost," says Fox.

At the Wilkin County Courthouse where the lawsuit was filed it's the people that could be directly impacted by the diversion that are hoping this lawsuit gets attention.

"There will be a lot of congressman looking at this going wait a minute. This doesn't have the full support of the entire area. There's a lot of projects across the nation that have the entire support of everyone. Why would we fund this project," says Berseth who hopes that the lawsuit will force state representatives to rethink the move.

"This was the end of the road for us. We've done everything to meet with politicians. We had a recent meeting with the Army Corp reps this summer," says Fox.

The lawsuit against the Army Corps of Engineers was just filed today. We have yet to hear back from members of the F-M Diversion Authority about how they feel the lawsuit will pan out.

Original Story...

A lawsuit was filed Monday at the Wilkin County Courthouse that looks to challenge the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion in court. 

The Joint Powers Authority held a meeting in Breckenridge, Minnesota, on Monday and voted on whether or not to move forward with a lawsuit against the F-M Diversion Authority and the Army Corps of Engineers.  Representatives from Wilkin and Richland counties cast their votes Monday afternoon and decided to go ahead with the plan.

The Upstream Coalition is concerned about damage that could be done by overland flooding. The group has presented alternatives, but feels the ideas have fallen on deaf ears.

Valley News Team's Eric Crest was at the meeting Monday afternoon and will have the details coming up tonight on Valley News Live and here, on www.valleynewslive.com.

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