Counties, Cities Readying Lawsuit Over Fargo-Moorhead Flood Diversion Project
Richland County in North Dakota and Wilkin County in Minnesota, along with a host of other local authorities (full list here) are joining up to sue over a proposed flood diversion project for the cities of Fargo and Moorhead.
You can read their press release here.
The legal argument they’re making seems to hinge on the use of economic development as a justification for the diversion. North Dakota’s constitution prohibits the use of eminent domain for economic development projects, and the counties (working a Joint Powers Authority) allege that national flood protection policies prohibit the expansion of flood control to facilitate development in flood zones.
Put simply, the counties are alleging that the flood diversion authorities would condemn land in Richland and Wiilkin counties in order to make property in Fargo/Moorhead more valuable.
I’ve been pretty skeptical of the case for flood diversion in Fargo. Flooding along the Red River is nothing new. Those who just to own and/or develop property there are aware of the risks. I’m not sure it’s good policy to divert flood waters to somebody else’s land just because they’re a headache for property owners in Fargo.
Maybe the Fargo property owners ought to move away from the river rather than expecting to make the water somebody else’s problem.
The Richland/Wilkin County folks are in for a tough fight. There are a lot more voters in Fargo than these counties, so they won’t have the politicians on their side. And North Dakota’s Fargo-centric media is going to put the interests of the City of Fargo above everyone else.
But that’s why we have laws and a court system to enforce them. To protect the interests of the minority from being trampled by the will of the majority.Tags: fargo flood diversion, North Dakota News