(BEMIDJI, MINN)         As Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and members of the state legislature continue to try to finalize a list of key projects that would be funded by taxpayer dollars, the latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development shows the average unemployment rate for “Line 3 Counties” is now above 21%.  While it is unlikely many of the projects that could be part of a bonding bill could start this year, Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement project would start construction work this November.  Line 3 will invest $2.6 billion in private-sector dollars and immediately create more than 4,000 jobs in communities that are facing rising rates of unemployment.

“While the Governor and our elected officials continue to talk in Saint Paul, too many people across Northern Minnesota continue to lose their jobs as well as any hope of things changing soon,” said Craig Gaasvig, a Beltrami County Commissioner where the unemployment rate is now 21%.  “Each week the numbers get worse and the need to do something to change things becomes more important.  Line 3 made sense before COVID wrecked our economy.  Today it is our only chance to guarantee people getting back to work this year and for our communities to know things will actually change for the better.  We have heard enough talk and need action and leadership to make sure Line 3 is approved and that construction starts in November.”

Line 3 would immediately create more than 4,000 good paying jobs.  The project will and invest more than $2 Billion of private-sector dollars into Minnesota and the company has already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars preparing for construction to start.  All of this at a time when Minnesota has never needed the jobs and investment more.  The MPCA recently decided to hold a contested case hearing on key permits for the project that delays any permits being issued until November.

Next week the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) will hold a meeting to review requests from Line 3 opponents that the agency reconsider its approval of both the certificate of need and the route permit.  If the PUC declines to reconsider, groups opposing the project will have 30 days to file a notice that they intend to file legal appeals of the agency’s decisions.  In 2019 the Minnesota Department of Commerce (MNDOC) legally challenged the PUC’s certificate of need, creating additional delays for what is now the most thoroughly reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history.  If Governor Walz has the MNDOC file another legal challenge to the PUC, it is unlikely that Line 3 construction could start this year.

“We need leadership, jobs, and a guarantee that things will get better this year,” Gaasvig said. “We need Governor Walz to join us in saying YES to Line 3 and NO to the Minnesota Department of Commerce filing any more appeals. People here are hurting and we need to get them get back to work this year.  Line 3 the best and only way this will happen.”

Latest unemployment rates for Line 3 Counties as of June 9th

County   Percentage
Kittson 9.8%
Beltrami   21%
Marshall 13.4%
Pennington 18.7%
Polk 17.4%
Red Lake 16.4%
Clearwater 25%
Hubbard 23.2%
Cass 29.3%
Crow Wing 26.3%
Aitkin 23.7%
Carlton 25.1%
St. Louis 26.4%
Wadena 22.3%
AVERAGE   21.29%


Percentage of people filing for unemployment insurance as a share of the 2019 available labor force

Data provided by Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development


Contact: Susan Goudge | 218-556-3617