FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A federal judge in Minnesota says he won’t lift an order that halts construction of a ring dike project until the completion of an environmental review on a planned Red River diversion project in the Fargo area.

U.S. District Judge John Tunheim last month put levee construction near Oxbow on hold until the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources completes its study on the proposed $2 billion diversion channel. The levee would protect structures where floodwaters would be staged when the diversion channel is needed.

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The Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority asked the judge to reconsider because the delay will likely result in more than $1 million of additional construction costs.

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Tunheim said in a ruling issued Wednesday that the public’s interest in “effective and thorough environmental review” is significant.

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