North Dakota Sen. Kent Conrad says the White House has approved the plan for a Red River diversion project around Fargo and Moorhead, Minn.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed the flood control project, which is currently estimated to cost about $2 billion.
Conrad says the White House's Office of Management and Budget determined that the plan is "consistent with the policies and programs of the president."
The plan still needs approval from Congress.
Residents in the Fargo-Moorhead area endured three straight years of major flooding, from 2009 to 2011.
Some residents upstream of the north-flowing river are opposed to the project and have threatened legal action.
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