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Associated Press, Published March 08 2013

Judge deals blow to major ND water project

BISMARCK — A federal judge has halted pipeline construction on the Northwest Area Water Supply project, saying it might influence a federal government study on the project's impact.

Congress first authorized NAWS in 1986 to bring Missouri River water to northwestern North Dakota. It's been under construction since 2002 but the state of Missouri and the Canadian province of Manitoba have sued.

Manitoba officials fear the possible transfer of harmful organisms into the Hudson Bay Basin. Missouri officials fear a depletion of the river that supplies water for homes and industry.

Judge Rosemary Collyer in Washington, D.C., initially ordered a more thorough environmental review of NAWS in response to Manitoba's lawsuit. She says in her latest ruling that federal officials must finish studying all aspects of the project including the water source.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.