MPCA HAS NOV 14 DEADLINE TO MAKE DECISION TO ISSUE KEY 401 WATER CERTIFICATION PERMIT NEEDED TO ALLOW FOR LINE 3 CONSTRUCTION TO BEGIN
(GRAND RAPIDS, MINN) As the deadline gets closer for a state agency to make a decision about a key permit for the Enbridge Line 3 project, a key Minnesota economic development official today urged the Walz Administraion to fully approve the project to make sure construction can start as soon as possible. Tamara Lowney, President and CEO of the Itasca Economic Development Corporation said the region needs the jobs and investment the fully-studied project will bring to 14 counties across Northern Minnesota. This week the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued two permits and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) has until Nov. 14th to decide to issue a major permit for the project.
“This is a critically important project for our region at a time of significant economic challenge that COVID-19 has only made worse,” said Tamara Lowney, President and CEO of the Itasca Economic Development Corporation. “The recent ALJ report and the decision this week by the DNR to issue permits show that the Line 3 project is clearly ready to move forward. Our region needs jobs, investment, and ways to protect our environment and quality of life. Line 3 does all of this and it is my hope Governor Walz will make sure it is fully approved so that construction can start as soon as possible.
The Line 3 project has been under review by state and federal agencies and regulators for almost six years. 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 and operational, the replaced Line 3 will also create additional tax revenue for counties and school districts across Northern Minnesota.
In June of this year, the Walz Administration directed the MPCA to hold a contested case hearing that delayed the permitting decision until November 14th. After the contest case hearing and review of the draft 401 water quality permits, the administrative law judge released its report that found the project record adequately supports the MPCA’s decision to issue the permit.
The ALJ also found that the record supports the MPCA’s determination that wetland impacts will not result in loss of any existing uses. Remediation plans are in place should there be unanticipated, long-term wetland impacts. The report also concluded that Enbridge has collected extensive pre-construction data that will allow for effective post-construction monitoring.
Earlier this week the DNR granted two of 10 required permits, licenses and approvals for the project. The agency said it had conducted a thorough review of the applications and determined that these two approvals, as conditioned, met the requirements of state statutes and rules.
Prior to the pandemic, the region was already facing challenges that were disproportionately impacting smaller communities. COVID-19 has since intensified this by putting even more economic pressure on people, businesses, and community. The latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows this as there are now more than 75,000 workers in the 14 “Line 3 Counties” who have filed unemployment insurance applications since March of 2020. This represents more than 26 percent of the available workforce.
“Experts have again and again reviewed the project, its impacts, the plan, and an exhaustive amount of other information,” Lowney said. “The depth of the record and the intensity of the review shows that Minnesota’s regulatory system works. Line 3 and the investment and positive impact it will bring is needed now more than ever as we face our typical harsh Minnesota winter with the added concern of a global pandemic. I am hopeful Governor Walz will agree that it’s clearly time to move forward. Line 3 is important for Itasca county and our entire region where far too many people need economic help and work. Line 3 is ready now to change this by creating jobs and the important economic life they bring to our communities.”
About the Itasca Economic Development Corporation
The Itasca Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) formed in 1981 as a non-profit corporation dedicated to the creation of high-quality jobs in and around Itasca County. Throughout its history, IEDC has established itself as a go-to resource for business retention, growth, and expansion. It’s mission is to undertake education and research efforts that support and advance the creation and retention of quality jobs by working with the business community residing in and around Itasca County. To learn more please visit itascadv.org.
Contact: Susan Goudge
Susan@Minnesotansforline3.com | 218-556-3617