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Published March 30 2012

White House gives OK on F-M diversion project

Support paves way for Record of Decision expected in April


WASHINGTON – U.S. Sen. Kent Conrad says the Obama Administration has given its approval for the Red River diversion to move forward, a pivotal procedural step for the $1.8 billion Fargo-Moorhead project.

The White House’s backing was needed before the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ top officials could sign off on a Record of Decision, a document which officially sends the project to Congress.

“This is another critical step to advance the project before Congress can authorize it and then provide the funding,” Conrad said in a statement.

The North Dakota Democrat said this afternoon that the White House's Office of Management and Budget told him they completed their review of the metro flood control project and determined that it is consistent with the policies and programs of the president.

The administration’s approval allows the Record of Decision to be signed, which Fargo-Moorhead officials expected the corps to hand down in early April.

Once that happens, the project’s opponents will also have the chance to file lawsuits protesting the current plans.

Several communities south of Fargo-Moorhead have expressed concern over the project’s plan to temporarily store water upstream of the diversion, which could displace at least a few hundred homes and residents.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Kristen Daum at (701) 241-5541