Heitkamp: Fargo diversion "a priority"

Nov 27, 2012

Senator-elect Heidi Heitkamp says she believes a strong case can be made for federal funding of the Red River diversion project.

Heitkamp says she agrees with holding federal spending down – and spending only on demonstrated need – but she says the project meets that test.

"Certainly, protecting Fargo is a huge need this region has," said Heitkamp. "I think it will pay huge dividends in return, in part, because every time we have these seasonal floods, millions of dollars get spent fighting the flood, as opposed to preventing the damage."

Heitkamp says she also believes the concerns of areas upstream need to be addressed – and she says she hopes the affected communities will be able to work it out.

"One of the concerns that we have is that we not end up with disagreement in North Dakota," said Heitkamp. "I think that will make it extraordinarily difficult for us to move forward with federal funding."

Some of the upstream communities object to land loss and water ponding because of the diversion. The price tag for the diversion is estimated at $1.8 billion.