Red River flood diversion opponents sue U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

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A group opposed to a proposed $1.8 billion flood diversion project along the Red River filed suit Monday against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Fargo Forum reports.

The lawsuit filed by the Joint Powers Authority of Richland and Wilkin counties 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 area is protected.

The U.S. Senate authorized the project in May. The U.S. House, which is expected to vote by the end of the year, must also approve the diversion before the project can receive funding.

The suit alleges that the corps failed to provide Congress with several suitable alternative plans. Gerald Von Korff, an attorney for the Joint Powers Authority, hopes the lawsuit forces the corps to the negotiating table to develop a better plan or get a declaration from the court telling them to do so, the newspaper reported.

"We're not trying to prevent Fargo from getting flood protection. We're attempting for everybody to have reasonable flood protection at a reasonable cost," Wilkin County Attorney Tim Fox told Valley News Live.

Diversion Authority Chairman Darrel Vanyo disputed the group's claims and said only a fraction of the area in question would be affected by water storage.

The corps declined to comment as it reviews the lawsuit.
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