BISMARCK, N.D. – Gov. Doug Burgum today applauded an announcement that the Assistant Secretary of the Army (ASA) for Civil Works, R.D. James, has directed the Army Corps of Engineers to increase federal participation in the Fargo-Moorhead Area Diversion Project to $750 million, up from $450 million.
James also approved the renegotiation of the Project Partnership Agreement for comprehensive flood protection in the Red River Valley, according to the announcement from U.S. Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota.
“This marks a huge step forward in securing comprehensive flood protection for a vital economic engine for the entire state of North Dakota and western Minnesota,” Burgum said. “Additional federal funding and a renegotiated partnership are essential elements of this project, and today’s announcement should instill confidence as we work with the North Dakota Legislature to secure additional state funding for the project. We are deeply grateful for the action by ASA James and the strong leadership by Sen. Hoeven and our entire congressional delegation to keep this project moving forward.”
Construction on the diversion began in spring 2017, but a federal judge approved a temporary injunction in September 2017 ordering work to stop and encouraging the parties to find common ground on a project that can serve the interests of both states and the affected communities. In October 2017, Burgum and then-Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton agreed to create a two-state task force whose recommendations ultimately resulted in the F-M Diversion Board of Authority submitting a new “Plan B” permit application to the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources in March 2018. The DNR approved a permit in December.
Burgum noted the project will protect nearly 95 percent of Cass County’s estimated 178,000 residents, nearly 50,000 K-12 and college students, $20 billion in property and the metro area’s thriving economy. Cass County accounted for 16 percent, or $2.8 billion, of North Dakota’s taxable sales and purchases in 2017.