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Trana Rogne, Kindred, N.D., Published April 29 2013

Letter: An abdication of her duties

After 100 days in office and letters and phone calls, we know now what the position of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., is on the F-M Diversion project. The statement from her local office was, “we will continue to press for federal funding for flood protection and let the local authorities determine how to best use those funds.”

We are very disappointed with her statement. It is not that she does not understand the overriding purpose of the project. It is spelled out as a plan that would provide for future growth, remove flood insurance from the largest possible area and would increase the density of the proposed development.

It is not that she does not understand that North Dakota, under her leadership, passed the most protective eminent domain law in the nation prohibiting the government from taking private property for economic development.

It is not that she does not understand the fundamental injustice of removing the possibility of developing the property of upstream citizens and giving those development rights to Fargo.

It is not that she does not understand the positive results from the completion of new basin-wide flood risk reduction projects using distributed retention. She knows that more is possible through the farm bill she is working for.

The most disturbing implication by the statement “let the local authorities determine how to best use the funds” is the giving up of the power to oversee the use of federal funds by a U.S. senator.

The plan was designed under the direct control of the “local non-federal sponsor,” as the Diversion Authority is called in the documents, and is for benefit of the Fargo metro area only. None of this is really new, except for the abdication of the duties and responsibilities of a U.S. senator.