WEEKLY AVERAGE % OF WORKERS IN THE 14 “LINE 3 COUNTIES” WHO HAVE FILED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE CLAIMS IS NOW ALMOST 24%
(BEMIDJI, MINN) As the regulatory process to approve the Enbridge Line 3 project continues to move forward, the number of people needing economic help where the project will be built continues to increase. The latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows the average percentage of workers in the 14 “Line 3 Counties” who have filed unemployment insurance claims is now close to 24 percent. This comes as the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission re-issued the certificate of need and route permit for the project on July 20th, triggering a 30-day timeline for project opponents to file notifications of intent to again appeal the PUC’s actions
“It’s beyond time for Governor Walz to not only pay attention to these rising numbers but to also realize they represent people who need jobs and hope that things will change this year,” said Minnesota State Representative Matt Grossell, who represents people in three of the Line 3 counties. “Line 3 is bigger than any bonding bill and it’s the only way we can guarantee that people will get back to work this year. This project made sense when the permitting process started more than five years ago and it’s now even more important to lift up our region and protect the environment. What we need more than ever is Governor Walz to understand this and make sure construction starts this year.”
The Line 3 project has been under review by agencies and regulators for more than five years. If construction is able to start this year, the project will immediately create more than 4,000 good paying, union jobs in cities across Northern Minnesota. To replace the aging energy infrastructure, Enbridge will invest approximately $2.6 billion into local economies during construction. As the company continues to plan for the project, Enbridge has already spent more than $80 million in local communities and to help train tribal members for construction jobs.
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s decision to hold a contested case hearing on key permits for the project means the earliest construction could start would be mid-November of this year. In June, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted 4-1 to deny requests from the Minnesota Department of Commerce and other project opponents to reconsider its approval of both the certificate of need and the route permit. The refiling of the certificate of need and route permit continues the overall permitting process for the project.
Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is now considering if he will have the Minnesota Department of Commerce file a legal challenge to the PUC decisions. If any additional legal challenges are filed by the Walz Administration, it would likely create additional delays resulting in construction work being put off until 2021 at the earliest.
“As frustrating as it is that the legislature cannot find a way to agree on a bonding bill to fund key projects, it just makes even less sense that work has not started on Line 3,” Grossel said. “It is beyond time for Governor Walz to put his money where his mouth is and live up to his ‘One Minnesota’ vision by getting this major economic boost project moving by not appealing the PUC and making sure the MPCA issues the permits this year.”
The Line 3 project is the most reviewed and studied pipeline project in Minnesota history. It will invest approximately $2.6 billion in private-sector dollars to create more than 4,000 family-supporting union jobs. This is the 8th week in a row the percentage rate has increased since Minnesotans for Line 3 has been tracking the data and shows the growing need to find ways to get people back to work.
Latest unemployment information for Line 3 Counties as of July 21st
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
Susan@Minnesotansforline3.com | 218-556-3617