FARGO, N.D. — A federal judge said Friday that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers should be brought back as a defendant in a lawsuit against a Red River diversion project around the Fargo and Moorhead, Minnesota area, although it's not clear how that will affect plans to start construction.
U.S. District Judge John Tunheim ruled last year that the corps couldn't be sued in the case, which diversion supporters have cited to start the project over objections from the state of Minnesota. The corps said in a release last week that work has begun on stabilizing the ground for a gated inlet structure, considered the first phase of construction.
But Tunheim said circumstances have changed, most notably a decision by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources to deny a permit for the project and the follow-up announcement by the corps that it planned to start construction anyway.
"The court, therefore, reinstates the corps as an active defendant in litigation," Tunheim said in his order.