(BRAINERD, MINN)        As Minnesota today hosts visits from President Trump and Vice President Biden, the need for jobs across Northern Minnesota remains strong.  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 in the 14 “Line 3 Counties” is 25.5%.  President Donald Trump will hold an even today at the Bemidji airport while Former Vice President Joe Biden will be at an event at a union training center in Duluth.

“Minnesota is hosting two presidential candidates who want to get people back to work and lift up our communities,” said Matt Kilian, President of the Brainerd Lakes Chamber of Commerce.  “In our state, I don’t believe there is a better way to immediately achieve this than the Line 3 Replacement project. The economic impact would be about the same as hosting a Super Bowl every year. We’ve had dozens of studies and public comment periods over the past six years. Now, we just need the final approvals to move forward.”

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

The Line 3 project has been under review by agencies and regulators for almost six years and started during the Obama-Biden Administration. In April of 2015, Enbridge submitted their application for replacement of Line 3 to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission as part of its integrity and maintenance driven program. In 2016, Enbridge entered into an agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency, both led by Obama-Biden appointees. As part of the agreement, the U.S. Government required Enbridge to replace the Line 3 pipeline. On June 28, 2018, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the Certificate of Need and approved the Route Permit.

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 agency had 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 decision to hold the contested case process delays a final decision on the 401 permits until November 14th.  Work to complete these permits continues, despite Governor Walz’s recent decision to have the Department of Commerce legally challenge the PUC’s decision to again issue the Certificate of Need.  If approved by the MPCA, the water-related permits will then be sent to the Army Corps of Engineers for final approval.  If the Army Corps approves the permit, construction will start this year.

“People in Brainerd and across Northern Minnesota remain hopeful that this project can finally be approved to bring much-needed jobs to our communities,” Kilian said.  “This has been a challenging time for our region as we deal with the impacts of both COVID and the economic impacts that continue to hurt our economy.  It has always made sense to replace a key part of our energy infrastructure with something that is new and better.  Now it is even more important because of the jobs and investment it will immediately bring to Minnesota.  We are truly ready for this project to move forward.”

Latest average unemployment insurance information for Line 3 Counties as of September 18th  

County   Percentage
Kittson 11.6%
Beltrami   24.7%
Marshall 16.7%
Pennington 24.3%
Polk 21.5%
Red Lake 21.8%
Clearwater 29.6%
Hubbard 27.2%
Cass 34.1%
Crow Wing 29.7%
Aitkin 28.2%
Carlton 30.2%
St. Louis 30.8%
Wadena 26.7%
AVERAGE   25.51%

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