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Dorgan chairs public hearing to address higher sulfate levels

U.S. Senator Byron Dorgan (D-N.D.) chaired an official U.S. Senate field hearing Friday, Feb. 19, at West Fargo City Hall, to look at the effects of Devils Lake outlet water on downstream areas.

The Energy and Water Subcommittee hearing, which featured testimony from top local experts and administrators, focused on the change proposed by the North Dakota Department of Health to increase allowable sulfate levels in the Sheyenne River caused by Devils Lake outlet water.

"I strongly believe we should not transfer problems from one part of our state to another," Dorgan said. "There are a lot of concerns from communities downstream of the Devils Lake outlet about the potential effects of higher pollution levels, and we need to fully examine and understand those issues."

The list of witnesses at the hearing included John Hoeven, governor of North Dakota; Dave Glatt, North Dakota's Department of Health's environmental health section chief; Dennis Walaker, mayor of Fargo; Jon Cameron, Valley City administrator; Fred Bott, mayor of Devils Lake; Jim Stevens, former president of People to Save the Sheyenne; and Dr. Wei Lin, North Dakota State University Associate Professor of Civil Engineering.

The hearing was part of Dorgan's continued involvement in the effort to deal with Devils Lake's rising water levels. Within the last year, he secured more than $90 million to raise the levee and increase protection for the city.  

North Dakota's Congressional delegation has also provided funding for new water lines and a treatment plant for Devils Lake.