(LEONARD, MINN)         Leonard Mayor Dan Godin is the latest local elected official to urge Minnesota Governor Tim Walz to make sure state agencies approve the Enbridge Line 3 Replacement project to help create much needed jobs.  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 26%.  Godin joins a growing number of mayors and county commissioners across Northern Minnesota who want to see construction start on the project as soon as possible.

“We simply need things here and in other communities to change for the better.  Making sure Line 3 construction starts will help my community and so many others,” said Leonard Mayor Dan Godin.  “Governor Walz has repeatedly said that hope is not a strategy and that we need to follow the facts and data.  The facts and data are clear.  Line 3 has passed every test and Minnesota is the only section of the line that has not been replaced. Hope does not put people back to work but approving Line 3 will immediately create thousands of jobs at a time when we have never needed them more.  It’s time for Governor Walz to say yes to Line 3 and help us turn things around.”

The Line 3 project has been under review by state and federal agencies and regulators for almost six years. It officially started in 2015 during the Obama-Biden Administration when 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 this 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.

To replace the aging line, Enbridge will invest approximately $2.6 billion to fund work across 14 counties.  The project will immediately create more than 4,000 good paying union jobs. Enbridge has already spent more than $100 million with tribal communities to help engage their members to connect them with construction jobs.  When fully completed, the replaced Line 3 will also create additional tax revenue for counties and school districts across Northern Minnesota.

In June of this year, instead of issuing key permits that would have allowed Line 3 construction to start, the Walz Administration directed the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to hold a contested case hearing that has delayed the permitting decision until November. 

The hearing process was to allow an administrative law judge the opportunity to 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.  Only 7 witnesses testified at the hearing that took only a few hours, instead of the planned full week of time that had been reserved.

The decision to hold the contested case process has delayed a final decision on the 401 permits potentially until November 14th.  At the same time, work by agencies to complete 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 as soon as possible.

“In my community we replace utilities when they get old with something that is newer and better,” Godin said.  “Line 3 is really a key part of Minnesota’s energy utilities. It’s old and has been replaced in Wisconsin, North Dakota, and Canada.  It just makes no sense to me why this is taking so long in Minnesota. The workers are ready and there is nothing left to study or review.  It’s time for work to start and I strongly urge Governor Walz help us move this forward.”

Latest average unemployment insurance information for Line 3 Counties as of September 30th  

County   Percentage
Kittson   11.8%
Beltrami   25.3%
Marshall   17.3%
Pennington   25.2%
Polk   22.2%
Red Lake   226%
Clearwater   30.4%
Hubbard   28%
Cass   35%
Crow Wing   30.5%
Aitkin   29.3%
Carlton   31.1%
St. Louis   31.6%
Wadena   27.4%
AVERAGE   26.26%

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