Forum staff reports, Published November 23 2010
Conrad, Dorgan: EPA ruling clears way to move more water off Devils LakeNorth Dakota's senators said today that North Dakota can increase controlled releases from Devils Lake through the state's outlet and an additional outlet planned for the lake's east end, based on information from the White House.
The White House concluded North Dakota doesn't need Environmental Protection Agency approval for the action.
In a news release issued by Sens. Kent Conrad and Byron Dorgan:
"Upon learning of the ruling, the Senators alerted Devils Lake Mayor Richard Johnson that the State has significantly more flexibility available to them to move more water off the lake.
As a result of this determination, the State now has considerable and immediate flexibility to operate the outlet as they best see fit. This news is a significant step forward in allowing for additional releases off the lake from the State outlet and through an east end outlet," the Senators said.
North Dakota had sought EPA approval for a permanent change or variance in water quality standards on the lower Sheyenne and Red rivers, allowing increased controlled releases.
The Obama Administration reviewed the issue and concluded that the State can proceed to move water without EPA approval, based on a 2008 ruling that allows for the transfer of raw water within the State from one water body to another without a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit, the release said.