A federal judge has cleared the way for completion of a $244 million project to bring Missouri River water to residents of northwestern North Dakota.
Judge Rosemary Collyer on Thursday ruled that the Northwest Area Water Supply project complies with federal environmental law.
NAWS was first authorized by Congress 31 years ago. It's been tied up in the courts the last 15 years because the state of Missouri and the Canadian province of Manitoba have concerns about water quality and water depletion.
The federal Bureau of Reclamation in 2015 released its final environmental study, calling for more stringent water treatment. Collyer says the study satisfies federal law requirements. She ruled in favor of the U.S. government, rejected Manitoba's claim and dismissed Missouri's.