CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story had the incorrect spelling of Duane DeKrey’s last name. The story has been updated to reflect the correct spelling.
NORTH DAKOTA (KXNET) — The Red River Water pipeline project is set to sue farmland owners for eminent domain if they don’t sign easements to allow a pipeline to carry water from the Missouri River to the eastern part of the state.
In Friday’s report, Adrienne Oglesby will share the fears landowners have once the project is over.
We last spoke with Duane DeKrey, general manager at Garrison Diversion.
“We were able to change some routes. We were able to negotiate on weed control on the crop damage policy things that are going to affect them while we’re constructing,” DeKrey said.
Reading close, DeKrey ensures these negotiations for the duration while construction is going on.
That is exactly why this project is alarming to landowners, but what about after?
“It’s not because we’re out here seeking the most money that we can get it we just know down the line when they’re done with it and we all know when you dig something like this the settlement‘s going to come it’ll probably come five and 10 years down the road that’s really when you’re going to see the dirt settlement where are you going to go find black dirt to fill up this trench nobody’s going to sell you black dirt and if they do it’s going to be very expensive I can tell you it’s going to be a lot more than $13,000,” said Sykeston Landowner, David Richter.
And he brings up that 13,000 because it’s $13,000 that landowners are being offered at a non-negotiable price.
“Most of us have worked our hearts and our souls off my land that I finally got paid for is my 401K for life I couldn’t have regular ones this is my retirement policy and now it’s going to be screwed up by this whole affair,” Bowdon Landowner, Larry Rexine expressed.
As mentioned in previous coverage, in David Richter’s case, things are just a tad different, he is a township supervisor that oversees a number of roads the trucks and equipment will be working on if the project goes as planned.
He tells us that construction workers have informed him that there will be about 800 heavy semi-loads of material per mile and that is 130,000 to 140,000 pounds.
He says an average truck can’t run over 80,000 pounds, due to all the hard damage it can cause to the roads.
“If they’re going right in front of your place if the road happens to be right in front of your place and this road does get torn up how are you supposed to get in and how’s the school bus supposed to get in and out, how’s the mail carrier, how is an ambulance if they need one supposed to get in and out. They told us if we have to we will pull our trucks down the road with cats if we have to but we’re going to keep on working but we will fix them up when we get done well I said that’s fine and dandy when they have the time,” David said.
He shares that townships have just enough in their budgets to keep gravel on the roads and keep the culverts flowing, but not enough, by far, to totally reconstruct roads.
Fred Richter shared a few images of the start of the project last summer conducted by Garrison Diversion, where you can see his exact fear.
“This is what they left for the landowner now they couldn’t get done oh it was kind of an abnormally wet year, and this is what you’re going to have when you’re done this is farmland,” said Fred.
He says all their farming grounds will be disturbed and that there is no going back once the soil is damaged.
“This, like I say, is my future. I’m a fifth-generation farmer my son will be the sixth-generation farmer and so I called up Garrison Diversion and I say well you know you’re not taking input from us were part of this project,” Rexine said.
At this time, no one knows what will be in store for the future generations of farmers expecting to inherit the land.
Stay tuned as next week as we will be visiting the land in person to continue this investigation.
This is an ongoing story that you can find here first.