New charge for Mo. River sparks anger

Associated Press

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — North Dakota officials are hoping the Army Corps of Engineers will back away from a plan to charge for drawing water from Lake Sakakawea.

The agency is taking public comment, and a Bismarck hearing Thursday night drew some strong objections.

Gov. Jack Dalrymple and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem say the corps wants to charge for Missouri River water that was reserved for North Dakota users when the state entered the Union.

Several speakers at the Bismarck hearing said the proposal would hurt efforts to develop industry and grow irrigated crops.

Pat Wheeler of Minot called the proposed fee "asinine."

Brian Grossman grows irrigated corn, soybeans and wheat near Linton. Grossman is 23 years old, and he says the corps shouldn't be discouraging young farmers by piling on costs.