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Minnesota's Powerful Supports Marquart's Position on Diversion P - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Minnesota's Powerful Supports Marquart's Position on Diversion Project

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One of the most powerful DFL leaders in Minnesota is supporting representative Paul Marquart's position on the diversion project. One week ago Wednesday, Marquart said the diversion authority may have violated the intent of the law authorizing the project by moving ahead with diking in the Oxbow-Hickson area. Marquart says the authority should have waited for the state-mandated environmental impact statement.

Valley News Live had the chance to visit with Minnesota house majority leader, Erin Murphy, about Marquart's comments which caused a big stir last week. She was in the valley for another matter, but given the importance of the diversion, and Marquarts warning, Valley News Live wanted to find out where legislative leadership stands on the issue. While she stopped short of saying she would back withholding state funding, Murphy made very clear that the environmental impact statement is very important for the project.

"That should be apart of the consideration as a whole. I know representative Marquart wouldn't say that without carefully considering what it means. I know he is being a strong advocate for the people of Minnesota and the people in his district and I am with him on that," says Rep. Erin Murphy.  

The Department of Natural Resources is performing the environmental impact statement, which is scheduled to be completed  this spring. Senator Kent Eken of Twin Valley also agrees with Marquart. He says the diversion authority should take it easy on the diking, a little patience would go a long way.  

"I can't say what the long term consequence will be but it does damage to the relationship between the two jurisdictions. I think there is a feeling that our jurisdiction is not being recognized, our concerns are not being recognized or respected," says Senator Eken.  

Representative Ben Lien of Moorhead says he wishes the diversion authority would wait, but he understands what they're doing and why.

"That is entirely in their permute to do but I do recognize that some consider that part of the project. Some are say hold off, some are saying it is not but it is different state and if that is the work they feel they need to do right now, then its what they need to do right now," says Rep. Lien.

Rep. Murphy did say she has not discussed the issue with Governor Dayton but is keeping close tabs on these developments.and she reiterated she completely backs Marquart's position.
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