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Published June 14 2010

Peterson backs plan for water retention

Minnesota Rep. Collin Peterson wants a provision in the next federal farm bill that would set aside $50 million a year to fund retention projects in the Red River Valley.

“If we can get this done – and I don’t see any reason why we can’t – it would give us the money we need to get the retention in place by the time the diversion gets built,” said Peterson, a Democrat who represents Minnesota’s Seventh District, which includes Clay County.

The retention projects alone are estimated to cost about $1 billion, and Peterson’s proposed earmark would only help toward those, not a Red River diversion.

If the funding came through for 10 years, the federal share toward the retention projects would be covered.

Local and state governments would still need to fund the remaining $500 million.

Peterson is chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, which drafts the farm bill.

For more on this story, read Tuesday’s edition of The Forum.