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Published September 12, 2011, 10:15 PM

Devils Lake Officials Challenge Water Commission's Seizure of Tolna Coulee Land

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - City officials are taking a stand against the state water commission. Devils Lake officials are challenging the state's right to seize city-owned land at the Tolna Coulee through a process called "Quick Take."

DEVILS LAKE, ND (WDAZ-TV) - City officials are taking a stand against the state water commission.

Devils Lake officials are challenging the state's right to seize city-owned land at the Tolna Coulee through a process called "Quick Take."

The commission took land from Devils Lake last week through the process, under the conditions that the Tolna Coulee control structure will serve as an outlet.

The state already has access to the land it needs at the Tolna Coulee because of the "Quick Take."

But, city officials say the structure is not an outlet.

"It's a control structure. It's not an outlet and that's what we'll use as a basis, in my understanding," Devils Lake mayor Dick Johnson said.

On Monday, with their Minneapolis attorneys on the phone, city commissioners decided to fight the state's quick take.

"The action taken by the city commission today is the city intends to put the state on notice the city is going to challenge the state's authority to exercise Quick Take on the city's property on the Tolna Coulee," city attorney Tom Traynor said.

City officials are hoping their challenge to the state water commission will make room for more discussion so they can hash out more options to get water off of the lake.

"What we've talked about before, getting water off the lake, getting it off in volumes that are meaningful and at elevations that will help us get some relief to the people of the lake region and Devils Lake," Johnson said.

Even though the city is challenging the Quick Take, it is not going to stop the state from accessing the land.

"That would continue until a judge ordered otherwise," Traynor said.

The Army Corps of Engineers is working with the state water commission on the project and will open bids on Wednesday.

Construction will start in late October.

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