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Missouri to appeal ruling in favor of Central North Dakota Water Supply project

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The state of Missouri has filed notice that it will appeal a federal judge’s August ruling in favor of a Garrison Diversion Conservancy District project.

Missouri challenged a U.S. Bureau of Reclamation environmental review of the Central North Dakota Water Supply project, which would bring water to parts of central North Dakota. Missouri alleged violations of federal policy, including failure by officials to properly study the project’s environmental impacts and its alternatives. U.S. District Judge Nanette Laughrey ruled against Missouri on all counts.

The specifics of the appeal aren't known. Court filings so far include only a notice of appeal and an outline of document filing deadlines.

Garrison Diversion General Manager Duane DeKrey said the notice of appeal wasn’t completely unexpected but that Laughrey’s opinion “was so strong we thought Missouri might pass.”

“But it is Missouri,” he said, referring to other lawsuits the state has filed over North Dakota water projects. “So we were surprised, but then again we weren’t."

The filing won’t slow the water project, DeKrey said, adding that he and the conservancy district’s legal team believe the appeal could be settled in eight months.

The Central North Dakota Water Supply Project will receive water from the McClusky Canal for systems in Burleigh, Sheridan, Wells, Foster, Kidder, McLean and Stutsman counties. The project will take water -- nearly 13 million gallons a day -- from the same pipeline as the Red River Valley Water Supply Program. The Red River program will move Missouri River water by underground pipeline from Washburn east to supply systems in the east and central parts of the state.

Reach Travis Svihovec at 701-250-8260 or


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