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Cass Co. Commissioner: Minnesota 'favorable' towards new diversion plan

FM Diversion Authority

The Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Authority has delayed its request to the North Dakota State Water Commission for another $66.5 million for the diversion project.

The Authority will make the formal request in June, when the Water Commission meets in Fargo. Authority members told the Commission the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources will have a decision on the “plan B” for the project, the product of a task force chaired by North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum and Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton.

Cass County Commissioner Chad Peterson told the committee he’s been hearing that the DNR is looking favorable on “plan B.” He said he’s been talking with members of the Technical Advisory Committee – and he’s heard nothing but positives.

"What they have shared with us is that our friends in the DNR are not against us, as you may be led to believe," Peterson said. "In fact, I think it's the polar opposite of that."

Peterson said the DNR sees the Authority was not trying to flood "our neighbors out," and that the city of Fargo was not trying to take advantage of developable land.

"I think the state of Minnesota is actually on our side," Peterson said. "I would be shocked if the situation went the other way."

Authority members say the new plan will involve less upstream land, but will have bigger impacts in Cass County. The cost has also gone up -- Fargo Mayor Tim Mahoney said the new estimate is $2.2 billion.

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