(WILTON, MINN)           As some of the remaining permits for the Line 3 Replacement Project are about to be issued, a Northern Minnesota Mayor today called for construction work to start as soon as possible because of another increase in the number of people filing for unemployment help.  Wilton Mayor Jeff Snyder applauded actions by agencies to complete work on the majority of permits needed to allow construction to start but said it was more important than ever that people can get to work.

“The momentum toward the completion of the permitting process is great but at the same time the urgency to get people back to work is now more acute than ever,” said Wilton Mayor Jeff Snyder.  “Knowing that even more people continue to need help and work makes it even more important that work on Line 3 starts as soon as possible.  After so many years of meetings, review, and studying this project, we are finally at the point where work can start.  It is my hope that it happens as soon as possible so that we can create economic hope and change these troubling economic trendlines.”

According to the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED), the average percentage of workers in the 14 “Line 3 Counties” who have filed unemployment insurance applications since March of 2020 is now almost 30 percent.  This increase comes as the Army Corp of Engineers is expected to issue their 404 Water Quality Certification and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is expected to issue a stormwater-related permit.  Last week the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) issued its remaining permits and the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) issued its Clean Water Act Section 401 Water Quality Certification.

Line 3 has now been replaced in North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Canada. When fully approved, the privately funded project will immediately put more than 4,000 union members to work to replace the Minnesota section.  To complete the final section of the line, Enbridge will invest approximately $2.6 billion to fund work across 14 counties. The company has already spent more than $100 million with tribal communities to help engage their members to connect them with construction jobs. 

The Line 3 project has been under review by state and federal agencies and regulators for almost six years, having started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden Administration. Enbridge submitted their application for replacement of Line 3 to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission in 2015 as part of the company’s integrity and maintenance driven program.

On June 28, 2018, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the Certificate of Need and approved the Route Permit.  Now that the Army Corp has issued its 404 certification, the project is waiting for the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to file an order to construct the line.  This would be the final approval to finally allow construction work to start.

“Our communities, our businesses, and our people across Northern Minnesota are truly ready for things to move forward and work to start,” Snyder said.  “We have all known it was the right thing to do to replace the existing line when this process started.  Now making sure construction starts as soon as possible is the only thing that can positively change our economy and the lives of so many people in a significant way.  After so much bad news, it will be a great way to end the year to see people getting to work and to have customers in our local stores, restaurants, and hotels.

Latest average unemployment insurance information for Line 3 Counties as of November 11th

County   Percentage
Kittson   13%
Beltrami   27.7%
Marshall   20.1%
Pennington   28.2%
Polk   24.5%
Red Lake   26.1%
Clearwater   34.5%
Hubbard   31.2%
Cass   38.8%
Crow Wing   33.5%
Aitkin   33.3%
Carlton   34%
St. Louis   34.1%
Wadena   30.7%
AVERAGE   29.26%

Percentage and number 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 | 218-556-3617