NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — In previous reports involving the Red River Valley Water Supply project, we spoke with Garrison Diversions’ Duane DeKrey.

DeKrey answered your questions, ours, and concerned landowners’.

In the last interview with Duane DeKrey, KX News asked why Fred Richter’s previous negotiations were not honored.           

We were given the answer that there was no record of any check or easement involving Garrison Diversion or Fred Richter.

“Well, he makes the point Fred Richter didn’t sign anything. Fred Richter didn’t get any payment. They don’t know what I’m talking about, but what they leave out is I did negotiate an option. Except, it is under Caliber LLP. I have a limited liability partnership with my nephew. So, that’s where I made it. They know about it. They’re very aware of Caliber LLP and that option. They decided to disregard and not mention that,” Richter said.

He shares that when he was initially notified of signing a new easement, he reached out to Garrison Diversions’ attorney and asked if he could check this out.

“I showed them the easement that we had with them under Caliber LLP, and said as far as I’m concerned, we’ve got this taken care of. Can you check into this and see? So, they passed it on to the attorney. The attorney did check on my behalf, checked with Garrison Diversion, and he came back and said, ‘Yes, they have it, but they’re not gonna honor it. The people that negotiated that are no longer with them.’ And they just weren’t gonna honor it,” Richter said.

And just to clarify if that negotiation was honored you wouldn’t be here today?

“No, it could still be right where that option was going on, where that easement was going, and I would be very fine with it,” Richter said.

Richter tells KX News he has an idea of why we were given the answer previously and why this is still ongoing.

“Now, in my opinion, there’s only one reason they did this. I mean, I don’t know why they would be doing this because when you interviewed them and you asked about this, all they had to say was basically the same thing: that their attorney told me because that’s their answer to it. In my opinion, they’re either trying to impugn my reputation, my credibility or paint me as a liar, or intimidate me, or all four, because there was no reason. They knew it was Caliber LLP that we were talking about, but they decided to take it this direction. And they take it this direction because that’s Garrison diversion. This is such an example of how we’ve been treated all along,” Richter shared.     

We also asked a question about culverts that Fred Richter had, which not only DeKrey said he was confused about, but landowner Fred Richter says he mistakenly was unclear on.

“Garrison Diversion is right on the culverts. When you were out there, and I was describing the coverts, I didn’t make it clear to you. So, there is a misunderstanding there, and I will take full responsibility for that. Because I didn’t explain it right or get it across to you. I have a quarter of land where they want to put this pipeline. I own a quarter of land and there’s three drainage ditches that come to the south end of that quarter. Everything drains from the north to the south. I have three culverts there. If we get a pretty fast inch of rain within two hours, we’re going to see some water going through all those culverts. If we get two-inches rain with three-inches rain, and it comes within an hour, then that water will flow off of that land. It will flow off of that, and it may even go over the road for a little bit until the coverts can catch back up and it goes through the culverts. My concern was, and where they proposed to put this line, is right perpendicular east and west to block all these culverts, While they’re putting this line in and when they’re doing that, who’s liable? If I get 20, 30, 50, 70 acres upstream of these culverts they get flooded out, who takes care of that,” said Fred Richter.

Richter says it is bigger than right now.

Despite DeKrey’s insurance saying “I have repeatedly stated that we will put land, roads, and infrastructure back to the same shape or better. If we should damage a culvert or any other infrastructure, we will repair it. You saw our reclamation of farmland and a haul road.”

“Usually when you talk to them, they say no. Well, we’re going to take care of your easement land. Well this is not easement land up here, but you were blocking off all the water, so I can lose that. So what do I do in the fall when I don’t have that crop, and I work with my federal crop insurance, and they see all this flooding. What happened? So I’m going to use the yield and that goes into what you call APH yields, which you were going to lose already on this land. That’s a whole other subject. And that’s leading one time up there if that happened, and I lost 70 acres, that’s more than the one-time easement they want to give me for this thing. For 99 years, it’s so out of whack that it’s unbelievable. Nobody will sit down and talk,” Richter explained.

Not only did Senator John Hoeven say that state legislators need to get involved, but again, landowners such as Fred Richter are saying the same thing.

KX News did reach out to Garrison Diversion and hopes to have a response to this report in the coming days.

KX also plans to discuss the Prior Appropriation Doctrine vs. Riparian Doctrine in the coming weeks as it relates to this project and others regarding water rights.

This is a developing story.