(BEMIDJI, MINN)           This week a contested case hearing for MPCA-led permits for the Line 3 Replacement project that was scheduled to take an entire week was completed in less than one day as the average percentage of workers who have filed unemployment insurance claims went up again in 12 of the 14 “Line 3 Counties.”  Instead of following the schedule to make decisions about the 401 water quality certification, in June the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency decided to hold a contested case hearing that delays the permit decision until November, creating another delay for the project.  The average percentage of workers who have filed unemployment insurance claims for the 14 “Line 3 Counties” remains close to 25 percent.

When the MPCA announced the contested-case, the agency said the hearing would consider a number of additional questions raised by the Friends of the Headwaters, Sierra Club, Honor the Earth, White Earth Band of Ojibwe and the Red Lake Band of Chippewa Indians.  Only 7 witnesses testified in the hearing that took only a few hours instead of the planned full week of time.

“The MPCA’s decision to delay these permits for three months made no sense and what happened this week unfortunately proved it,” said Brian Hartje, Vice President, Bemidji Welders Supply Inc. with headquarters in Bemidji, MN.  “While we wait even longer to get Line 3 built, the number of people needing work keeps going up.  Needless delays for Line 3 are hurting people and our communities and it’s time for this to stop. It’s time for Governor Walz to stop listening to activists and follow the data and science.  We need him to make sure Line 3 construction starts this year before things get even worse.”

The decision to hold the contested case process delayed a final decision on the 401 permits until November 14th.  Work to complete these permits continues, despite Governor Walz’s decision to have the Department of Commerce legally challenge the PUC’s decision to again issue the ceritificate of need.  If approved, the permit will then be set to the Army Corp of Engineers for final approval.  If approved, construction would start this year.

The Line 3 project has been under review by agencies and regulators for almost six years.  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 the Staet of 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. The new Line 3, when fully operational, will also create additional tax revenue for cities, counties, and school districts across Northern Minnesota. 

“Not only do people across our region need work, local government and school districts also need to find new tax revenue to fund the services we depend on instead of having to raise our taxes,” Hartje said.  “Line 3 is the only way to do all this that’s even better because it is privately funded.  After five years of review and a year of seeing people lose jobs and communities lose businesses it’s time to get this done.  Governor Walz and his agencies need to get their work done so construction work starts this year.”

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

Contact: Susan Goudge
Susan@Minnesotansforline3.com | 218-556-3617