(BEMIDJI, MINN)           As the deadline gets closer for parties to notify the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission of their intent to appeal the agency’s decision to issue the certificate of need for the Line 3 Replacement project, the number of people needing jobs across Northern Minnesota has increased for the 11th week in a row.  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 continues is now 24.7%.  The Line 3 project will invest more than $2 billion in private sector dollars that would immediately create thousands of jobs and millions in new tax revenue at such a critically important time for Minnesota.  

“It has always made sense to replace an old pipeline with one that is newer and better” said Mayor Gary Tibbitts of Aitkin.  “But now making sure Line 3 is approved this year is even more important because it is the only significant way we can immediately put people back to work.  People in Aitkin and in other communities across Northern Minnesota are struggling and need to know things will get better.  We all need Governor Walz to say yes to Line 3 and no to any more delays so we can know construction work can finally start.”

The Line 3 project has been under review by agencies and regulators for more than five years.  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 PUC has refiled the certificate of need and route permit to continue the overall permitting process for the project. 

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz has until August 19th to decide if he will have the Minnesota Department of Commerce again file a legal challenge to the PUC decisions.  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.  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.

“If there is any good news to all of the delays, it is that all the homework for this project has been done and it has passed every possible test,” Tibbitts said.  “What we need now is leadership from Governor Walz.  From the people who will be able to work on the project to the restaurants and stores that will benefit from construction activity, they need things to change as soon as possible.  Saying no to any more delays and yes to work getting started is critically important.”

To replace 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 $80 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 12th  

County   Percentage
Kittson 11.3%
Beltrami   23.9%
Marshall 16.1%
Pennington 23.1%
Polk 20.7%
Red Lake 20.5%
Clearwater 28.6%
Hubbard 26%
Cass 32.9%
Crow Wing 28.9%
Aitkin 27%
Carlton 28.9%
St. Louis 29.7%
Wadena 28.7%
AVERAGE   24.7%

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