White House OK’s diversionNorth Dakota’s delegation in the U.S. Senate said Friday the White House has approved the Red River diversion to move forward, a pivotal step for the $1.8 billion project to protect Fargo-Moorhead from flooding.
By: By Kristen M. Daum, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
WASHINGTON — North Dakota’s delegation in the U.S. Senate said Friday the White House has approved the Red River diversion to move forward, a pivotal step for the $1.8 billion project to protect Fargo-Moorhead from flooding.
The backing of the Office of Management and Budget was needed before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ top officials could sign off on a “record of decision,” a document officially sending the project to Congress.
“This is another critical step to advance the project before Congress can authorize it and then provide the funding,” Sen. Kent Conrad said in a written statement.
The North Dakota Democrat said Friday afternoon OMB staff told him they completed their review of the metro flood control project and determined it is consistent with the policies and programs of President Barack Obama.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., also said he was encouraged by Friday’s step forward, though he said the key will be the record of decision.
“We clearly need permanent flood protection for the Fargo-Moorhead area, rather than an almost annual flood fight,” Hoeven said in a written statement.
The administration’s approval paves the way for the Army Corps approval, which local officials expect the agency to hand down in early April.
Once that happens, the project’s opponents will also have the chance to file lawsuits protesting the current plans.
Several communities south of Fargo-Moorhead have expressed concern over the project’s plan to temporarily store water upstream of the diversion, which could displace at least a few hundred homes and residents.
Kristen M. Daum is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-
Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.