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Published March 07 2012

Red River diversion not likely to be OK’d until 2013

FARGO – The Red River diversion project probably won’t be authorized by Congress until at least 2013, Diversion Authority officials say.

After meetings in Washington, D.C., last week, Diversion Authority Chairman Darrell Vanyo and Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker said federal officials all offered the same conclusion:

“Their answer was, ‘It could happen this year, but that would be a surprise,’” Vanyo said.

The main vehicle to authorize water projects is the semi-regular Water Resources Development Act, but because it’s a presidential election year, Congress isn’t likely to introduce – let alone, take up – such legislation.

The next chance a WRDA bill would come before Congress will be in 2013, meaning the Red River diversion can’t be authorized or congressionally funded until at least then, Vanyo said.

“There’s going to be a little bit of slowdown going to happen in 2013,” Vanyo said, but he added that design work on the project can continue thanks to corps funding that’s guaranteed through September 2013.

The Diversion Authority gathers for its regular monthly meeting at 3:30 p.m. today at Fargo City Hall, 200 3rd St. N.

Read the full story at www.diversiondiscussion.areavoices.com.

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Readers can reach Forum reporter Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541