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Emily Welker, Published January 24 2013

Oxbow, in a 3-2 vote, decides to withdraw from joint powers agreement opposing proposed F-M diversion

FARGO – A lobbyist for the Richland/Wilkin joint powers agreement, which is challenging the proposed Fargo-Moorhead flood diversion project, said Thursday the group has lost one of its members.

In a 3-2 vote on Wednesday, Oxbow city officials decided to pull out of the joint powers agreement, citing what lobbyist RaeAnn Kelsh said was support for the element of the flood plan that would create a ring dike around the city of Oxbow.

Oxbow mayor Jim Nyhof announced in October city leaders were “throwing our hat in the ring” and joining the Richland/Wilkin joint powers agreement. The proposed upstream dam would add water into Richland and Wilkin counties during a major flood.

Kelsch said Nyhof cast the deciding vote in the 3-2 split between city commissioners on Wednesday.

“Are they being influenced by someone on the outside?” asked Kelsch, adding she doesn’t think her organization is under attack. “Could it happen later on? I think it could. But I think our organization is on the right side of this issue.”