Attorneys representing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are asking a judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by a group opposing the nearly $2 billion flood diversion project along the Red River.
The lawsuit filed in August by the Richland-Wilkin Joint Powers Authority claims the diversion would damage rural farmland in more than 20 cities and townships upstream, where the so-called “staging area” would collect water during a severe flood while the Fargo-Moorhead area is protected.
The project has been approved by Congress, which authorized $800 million in federal funds and technically allows construction to begin, the Associated Press reports. The suit alleges that the corps failed to provide Congress with several suitable alternative plans.
According to the Associated Press, the corps said in its response filed earlier this week that other options were studied and the Joint Powers Authority hasn't made a valid claim.
A study conducted by the Corps concluded that the diversion project will not have any significant environmental impacts, but prompted the agency to make some modifications to the original plan.
The 36-mile long diversion channel will direct floodwater around the Fargo-Moorhead area and is expected to protect more than 200,000 people from flooding, officials say.