AVERAGE OF WORKERS IN 14 “LINE 3 COUNTIES” WHO HAVE FILED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE CLAIMS NOW ABOVE 25%
(BEMIDJI, MINN) A Minnesota mayor today renewed his plea that Governor Walz makes sure construction on the Line 3 project starts this year as the number of people needing work in Northern Minnesota has increased for the 14th consecutive week. 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 now 25.5%.
Hill City Mayor Dan Kingsley was one of 42 other mayors in June who asked Governor Walz to not appeal the Public Utilities Commission’s certificate of need. Last month Governor Walz had the Minnesota Department of Commerce announce plans to legally challenge the PUC’s decision. Kingsley’s decision to renew his appeal to the Walz Administration comes after seeing more people needing jobs and economic help in his community and in other cities.
“People in my community this year have gone through enough stress and uncertainty because of COVID-19 and the economic havoc it has created,” said Hill City Mayor Dan Kingsley. “We need things to change this year. There is one project and one person who can make sure this happens. Line 3 will create the kind of jobs, hope, and opportunity people across Minnesota need at such a critically important time. The project has been studied for almost six years and the only thing we are missing now is leadership from Governor Walz to make sure construction work starts this year.”
The process to replace Line 3 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 a settlement 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 its 1960s era Line 3 pipeline. On June 28, 2018, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the Certificate of Need and approved the Route Permit.
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 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. The new Line 3, when fully operational, will also create additional tax revenue for cities, counties, and school districts across Northern Minnesota.
Instead of following the project permit schedule to make important 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 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.
“Any project that can create jobs and new investment in our community is important but Line 3 takes this to a very high level,” Kingsley said. “Line 3 is so important because of its immediate and long-term impact. Knowing that so many people will have the chance to start work this year will be an economic lifeline for families. After construction is done, Line 3 will create new tax revenue for local government to help us all dig out our budget holes. Line 3 is the best and only way for us to see and know things can positively change for Hill City and other communities.”
Latest average unemployment insurance information for Line 3 Counties as of September 7th
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