(BEMIDJI, MINN)           As the contested case process for key Line 3 Replacement project permits continues, the number of people needing work in Northern Minnesota continues to increase.  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 above 25%.  This the 13th week in a row that these numbers have increased, creating an even stronger need to find ways to move key projects like Line 3 forward to be able to immediately create jobs and positive economic change across the region.

“Week after week we see these numbers get worse as we see families across Northern Minnesota continue to struggle to make ends meet,” said Larry LePier, CEO, LePier Oil, Inc. of Fosston, MN.  “As someone in the energy industry, I know how important it is to have a reliable source of energy.  As someone who cares about my community, I know how much we need things to change in a positive way.  The reality is that Line 3 is the only way we can immediately change our economy across Northern Minnesota and get people back to work.”

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 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 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 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 recent decision to have the Department of Commerce legally challenge the PUC’s decision to again issue the Certificate of Need.  If approved, the permit will then be set to the Army Corps of Engineers for final approval.  If the Army Corps approves the permit, construction will start this year.

“People in our communities are ready to get to work and our local businesses are ready to serve customers in their stores, restaurants and hotels,” LePier said.  “We have always supported Line 3 because it just makes so much sense to replace something old with something new and better.  Today we need the jobs and positive economic change more than ever to help people know there can be some hope for this year and to know there will be people working next year as well.  We really need Governor Walz and his agencies to get their work done so construction work starts this year.”

Latest average unemployment insurance information for Line 3 Counties as of September 4th  

County   Percentage
Kittson 11.4%
Beltrami   24.3%
Marshall 16.5%
Pennington 23.6%
Polk 21.2%
Red Lake 21%
Clearwater 29.3%
Hubbard 26.8%
Cass 33.6%
Crow Wing 29.4%
Aitkin 27.7%
Carlton 29.9%
St. Louis 30.4%
Wadena 26.4%
AVERAGE   25.11%

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