BISMARCK, ND – The court battle over the Northwest Area Water Supply project unfortunately will continue, announced Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem. In August, the District Court in Washington, DC concluded that the Environmental Impact Statement for the NAWS project met the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).
As the deadline for appeal approached on Tuesday, the State received notices from both Manitoba and Missouri that they are appealing the District Court’s decision. The specific legal issues being appealed have not been disclosed to the State at this time.
The NAWS project will bring much-needed water from the Missouri River to Minot and surrounding counties in northwest North Dakota.
The State Water Commission and Bureau of Reclamation began construction on the NAWS project in early 2002. Soon after, the Province of Manitoba sued under NEPA, and the project has been entangled in litigation since then. In addition, the State of Missouri joined the litigation against North Dakota in 2009. Though much of the distribution system and supply pipelines have been constructed, the remaining work has been subject to various court injunctions since 2005.
“Although it is not unexpected, we are disappointed that our neighbors would continue to hamper this much needed project to bring clean drinking water to North Dakota residents, said Stenehjem. “The State has gone to extraordinary lengths to ensure the safe and successful completion of this project,” he continued.
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Media contact: Liz Brocker (701) 328-2213