(BEMIDJI, MINN) As the Minnesota Department of Commerce prepares to file its legal challenge to the Certificate of Need for the Line 3 Replacement Project, the need for jobs across Northern Minnesota remains strong. Governor Walz this week ignored facts, data, and commissioners he had appointed to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission when he ordered the Department of Commerce to challenge the Line 3 Certificate of Need.

The latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows the average percentage of workers who have filed unemployment insurance claims has gone up again in 10 of the 14 “Line 3 Counties.” Governor Walz’s decision to have one state agency legally challenge another does not stop the permitting process, but wastes time and money opposing a project that would immediately create thousands of jobs and millions in new tax revenue at such a critically important time for Minnesota.

“Governor Walz repeatedly talks about how he uses facts and data when he makes decisions yet he ignored this unemployment data, the public record, and the fact his own appointees support Line 3,” said Mayor Candace Coulter of Gonvick, MN. “Week after week the numbers go up because more people need jobs and the economic help Line 3 will bring to our communities. We needed Governor Walz to say yes to Line 3 and no to any more delays but instead he went against pledges he made to support Line 3 when he was campaigning and needed our votes. Not only has he forgot what he promised, he now is ignoring facts and reality by opposing this project.”

The Line 3 project has been under review by agencies and regulators for almost six years. The decision by Governor Walz to appeal the Certificate of Need does not stop the permitting process. Next week a contested case hearing will be held by an administrative law judge related to key permits from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA). Because of the decision by the MPCA to hold a contested case, the earliest the agency could issue the permits would be mid-November – allowing construction to start this year.

“As disappointing as Governor Walz’s decision was, the good news is that it has not stopped the other work being done on the permits,” Mayor Coulter said. “I share the frustrations of many who cannot understand why this project is not already under construction. We have always needed Line 3 to protect the environment and create new tax revenue for counties and cities. We also need Line 3 to create jobs now and hope at some point Governor Walz understands this and makes sure we can get this done.”

To replace the existing Line 3, Enbridge will invest approximately $2.6 billion and the project will immediately create more than 4,000 good paying union jobs. Line 3 would generate an estimated $35 million in new tax revenue for Minnesota in its first year of service using the replaced pipeline. The new Line 3 will also create additional tax revenue for cities, counties, and school districts across Northern Minnesota. To prepare for construction, Enbridge has already spent more than $100 million in local communities and to help train tribal members for construction jobs.

Latest average unemployment insurance information for Line 3 Counties as of August 17th  

County   Percentage
Kittson 11.3%
Beltrami   24%
Marshall 16.2%
Pennington 23.3%
Polk 20.8%
Red Lake 20.6%
Clearwater 28.9%
Hubbard 26.4%
Cass 33.2%
Crow Wing 29.1%
Aitkin 27.3%
Carlton 29.3%
St. Louis 30%
Wadena 26%
AVERAGE   24.74%

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