Letter: Should the Diversion Authority sue opponents?

Perhaps it may be time for the F-M Diversion Authority to sue for damages those causing delays and increased costs for the project, such as the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority.

I'm the son of farmers in South Dakota. In the 1970s, I became part of the Fargo-Moorhead, Minot and Twin Cities design community and was involved with construction, architecture and engineering in North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin for 40 years. I am now retired and live in Moorhead.

I believe frivolous lawsuits, by Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority & others, have caused delays in an attempt to increase costs. It appears the opponents are trying to wear out the public with lawsuits. Those opponents should consider how they have contributed to F-M flooding:

  • The Wahpeton-Breckenridge Diversion was completed in 2005. It allows additional flows north to the Red River more rapidly than it used to.
  • Drain tiling pushes water to ditches, then culverts, then creeks and to rivers, including the Wild Rice and Red Rivers.

Perhaps the opponents are saying "We got ours" but, "Don't you get yours."

The Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority asks why we should protect undeveloped areas south of Fargo. It would be irresponsible for any city, town or village to not protect areas next to itself.

The F-M Diversion protects property not developed. Most diversions, including the one that benefits those from the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority, allows expansion into areas no longer at flooding risk.

Now's the time for those opponents south of the Fargo-Moorhead area to compromise and stop the lawsuits, delay and wasting of monies. Maybe they should learn the value of a common technique — compromise. It is how projects are designed, built and completed. C

ompromise on the F-M Diversion project has already been done by the F-M Diversion Project Authority many times. Examples?

  • During project conception, an idea, which if used, would have played havoc south of the F-M area. This was the Grand Forks solution. The metro area could have dammed up both the Red and Wild Rice rivers, but they decided to not do this.
  • Payment to those whose lands retain water during diversion operation.

A recent compromise? A Minnesota permit wasn't initially issued. In fact, the permit was rejected. Then, the North Dakota and Minnesota governors formed a committee that made changes in the project. Those changes became Plan B. Plan B is the current federal, North Dakota and Minnesota approved F-M Diversion project. The state of Minnesota permit was then granted.

Should the FM Diversion Authority sue Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority and other opponents? Not if they stop wasting time and money. For a real compromise, members of the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority and other opponents could insist on acceptance of compromises already reached and allow the project to proceed. Let's quit wasting time and money.