Hoeven: Court Rules Northwest Area Water Supply Project May Proceed

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven today announced that the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia has issued a ruling that the Bureau of Reclamation’s Environmental Impact Study (EIS) for the Northwest Area Water Supply (NAWS) project fulfilled the requirements of the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA). Accordingly, the court has dismissed the lawsuits brought against the project, lifted the injunction and allowed the project to proceed.

“The Northwest Area Water Supply project is vital infrastructure, ensuring a clean and reliable water supply for more than 100,000 North Dakotans,” Hoeven said. “That’s why after we secured the Finding of No Significant Impact in 2001 and Manitoba brought its lawsuit in 2002, we continued building out our water infrastructure for communities in the region using water from the City of Minot. Doing so ensured this project was ready to be brought to completion for the remaining communities after the court ruling.”

Hoeven has worked since his time as governor to help advance the NAWS project. As governor, he worked from 2001 to 2010 to meet legal challenges and secure state and federal funding for the project. Construction began in 2002 under the Hoeven Administration, and the system became operational during his term, delivering water to Berthold, Burlington, Glenburn, Kenmare, Max, Minot, Mohall and Sherwood.

Hoeven has continued these efforts as senator, urging the Environmental Protection Agency and Reclamation to work with state and local leaders to agree on a water treatment plan and address concerns with the project. Following the senator’s efforts, Reclamation signed the Record of Decision for its preferred alternative in 2015, which uses Lake Sakakawea as the primary water supply. With the lawsuits resolved, the project can be finished, bringing a new water supply to the communities of Bottineau, Renville, Souris and Westhope and allowing the intake and water treatment plant to be constructed at Lake Sakakawea. Hoeven commended Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem and his staff for their good work in bringing the case to a positive conclusion.

The NAWS project will be funded with federal, state and local dollars provided by the communities that will use the water. Reclamation’s preferred alternative recognizes the need for the system to provide up to 26 million gallons of Missouri River water per day to more than 100,000 residents of North Dakota. The system is designed to provide service through 2060.