July 2, 2020

(BEMIDJI, MINN)           More people across Northern Minnesota are now looking for work as unemployment rates for the 14 “Line 3 Counties” continues to increase and the scale of the economic challenge the region is facing becomes more severe.  The latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows the average unemployment rate is now 22.24 percent.  This is the 4th week in a row the rate has increased since Minnesotans for Line has been tracking the data and the latest information continues to show the increased need to find ways to get people back to work. 

The continued increase in the number of people looking for work comes as the Minnesota Governor Tim Walz via the Department of Commerce and other groups opposed to the project are considering filing lawsuits to challenge the certificate of need and route permit.  Governor Walz and the other groups in the past had filed litigation that has further delayed the project.  Should these groups again legally challenge the PUC, this action would likely create delays that would make it almost impossible for construction to start in 2020.

“Governor Walz needs to look really close at these numbers and how strong the PUC was in reaffirming their support of this project before he decides what happens next,” said Jed Holewa, a member of Minnesotans for Line 3 and someone who has worked in the mining industry. “The only thing that will reduce these numbers in any significant way is making sure construction can start this year on Line 3.  The Governor can make this happen by not appealing the PUC decision and directing agencies to get the permits done.  It’s up to him and we again call on him to do the right thing for the growing number of families who need work, hope, and that things will get better.”

Line 3 would immediately create more than 4,000 good paying, union jobs.  The project will also invest approximately $2.6 billion into local economies and Enbridge 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 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.

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 four commissioners who voted to deny the petitions to reconsider the certificate of need and route permit were very clear as to the reason for their decision:

Commissioner Valerie Means:

  • “The project is the safest, most rational option for protection the environment and Minnesota communities.”

Commissioner John Tuma: 

  • “I’m confident in the long run this permit will be viewed as the gold standard for petroleum infrastructure replacement.”

Commissioner Joe Sullivan:

  • “I also believe that the Commission did not err in its legal determination as demand for the pipeline has been shown.”

Commissioner Katie Sieben:

  • “A new pipeline with thicker and safer materials, constructed with up to date safety standards by skilled laborers operating under prevailing wage laws is a better outcome than leaving an old pipeline that again was ordered by federal consent decree to seek replacement.”
  • “If anyone suggests that this Commission did not carefully consider issues raised by Tribal governments and their representatives, they are not fully informed.”

Latest unemployment rates for Line 3 Counties as of June 25th

County   Percentage
Kittson 10.3%
Beltrami   21.7%
Marshall 14.5%
Pennington 19.8%
Polk 18.5%
Red Lake 17.6%
Clearwater 25.8%
Hubbard 24.1%
Cass 30.5%
Crow Wing 27.2%
Aitkin 24.5%
Carlton 26.2%
St. Louis 27.3%
Wadena 23.4%


AVERAGE   22.24%

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