FARGO, N.D. (AP) — A water resource district representing people whose land would be flooded by a Red River diversion channel says the North Dakota state engineer should not have approved a construction permit for part of the project.
An appeal filed in state court last week by the Richland County Water Resource District contends that the engineer’s office failed to give the group notice of the application for the project, as required by law. The document says notice was provided to the neighboring Cass County Joint Water Resource District.
The $2.1 billion channel is designed to move water around the flood-prone Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota metropolitan area, but would need a staging area in Cass and Richland counties to store water in times of serious flooding.
“I’d say that getting 10,000 acres of our land flooded makes us a part of the project,” said Don Moffet, district chairman for the Richland water group.
Garland Erbele, the state engineer, and Liz Brocker, spokeswoman for the North Dakota Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem, declined to comment on the appeal.
Erbele on July 8 granted the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority’s application for a permit to build an inlet structure. The Richland County group says that approval is premature because the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has not completed its permitting process.
“If Minnesota doesn’t permit this project, all this construction will be a massive waste of taxpayer money,” Moffet said.
Moffet said his group is not opposed to flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead area, “but not to the detriment of Richland County.”
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