FARGO, N.D. (AP/WCCO) — North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum says he and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton have agreed to see if technical changes can be made to restart a $2.2 billion flood diversion project around the Fargo-Moorhead area.

Burgum says he and Dayton talked by phone Tuesday “to try to find a path forward” for the Red River diversion project.

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The 30-mile channel has been approved by Congress and work had begun on an inlet structure southwest of the Fargo area. But a federal judge from Minnesota halted all construction because the project does not have the necessary permits from Minnesota.

Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources has raised concerns including about upstream impacts of the project.

Dayton’s office released this statement early Tuesday evening:

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Governor Burgum and Governor Dayton had a very cordial and constructive call this afternoon to discuss the Fargo-Moorhead Flood Risk Management Project. They both expressed their shared desire for a collaborative process that will prioritize the safety and security of all the people living in the Fargo-Moorhead region.

The two governors agreed to set up a conference call as soon as possible among Minnesota DNR officials, North Dakota officials, and themselves, to discuss in more detail the Minnesota DNR’s objections to the present project proposal.

However, Governor Dayton made it clear that he would not negotiate any changes until after he has met again with Moorhead City Officials, area Legislators, and landowners both north and south of the city. Those meetings are in the process of being scheduled.

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