BISMARCK, N.D. – North Dakota lawmakers have passed a bill that would allocate more than $80 million in state funding for the Minot-area’s flood protection project, though the focus now shifts to how Gov. Doug Burgum will interpret the much larger portion of the bill.
The Senate and House have passed the conference committee version of Senate Bill 2020, which would allocate $82.5 million for the Mouse River Enhanced Flood Protection Project.
The bill would secure a long-term commitment of $750 million for the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion flood protection project as well, though it’s reportedly less than what Gov. Burgum and leaders of the Fargo-Moorhead Diversion Authority were looking for.
Ryan Ackerman, the administrator for the Souris River Joint Board, said he’s heard speculation that the governor may consider vetoing the bill so lawmakers revisit the amount for Fargo-Moorhead.
One way or another, he says a bill will have to be signed in order for the State Water Commission to function.
“There’s not necessarily as much concern about the appropriation in the next biennium, so in that regard, should the numbers be adjusted to accommodate Fargo’s request, it actually would not have an impact on the $82.5 million, as I understand this, anyway,” said Ackerman.
A spokesperson for the governor says his office has yet to receive the bill.
Ackerman says in the final week of the session, he will be working with state lawmakers on a bill that would help secure a loan for the local share of Minot’s flood protection project.