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Peterson says there's "minus 5 percent" chance for flood diversion on Minnesota side of Red River

MOORHEAD - U.S. Rep. Colin Peterson said today he doesn't think a Red River diversion around Fargo-Moorhead on the Minnesota side of the river is realistic.

The $909 million, 30-mile diversion was one of two main possibilities for permanent flood control unveiled by the Army Corps of Engineers last week, the other option being $625 million in levees.

Peterson, D-Minn., and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., held a meeting with Moorhead and Clay County officials this morning to discussion protection plans.

Peterson's comment came after a retired farmer raised concerns about the diversion plan.

"I think the chances of there being a diversion on the Minnesota side are about minus 5 percent, OK?" Peterson said. "I just don't see it. With all the problems there are there, it doesn't make any sense. You'd have to dig it deeper, it's going to cost a ton of money. I just don't think there's any way it's ever going to happen."

Officials at the meeting said they want to work with Fargo on a flooding solution, but it can't negatively affect Minnesotans.

State Sen. Keith Langseth, DFL-Glyndon, said it seems "a little strange" that the diversion would run on the Minnesota side when Moorhead is 4 feet higher in elevation than Fargo and would only see 20 percent of the benefit.

"I don't want to start a border fight or anything, but it seems we're giving a lot more on that plan than we're getting out of it," he said.