(KEEWATIN, MINN)       As construction work on the Line 3 Replacement Project has now started, Keewatin Mayor Bill King today cheered the milestone as updated data shows that even more Minnesotans have filed for economic help.  On November 30th the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued a stormwater construction permit, the final approval needed to allow Line 3 to move forward.  On December 1st crews in different locations along the route area began initial work on what will be the largest privately financed construction project in Minnesota’s history.  All of this comes as information from Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows that the average percentage of workers in the 14 “Line 3 Counties” who have filed unemployment insurance applications since March of 2020 is now above 32 percent. 

“This week has been historically important for Northern Minnesota because Line 3 is finally moving forward after so many years of review and needless delays,” said Keewatin Mayor Bill King. “This great news comes as the latest DEED information shows how much we need to find ways to get people back to work through projects like Line 3.  In addition to the hope that new jobs will bring, seeing the final permits issued restores some confidence that large-scale projects can actually get through Minnesota’s regulatory system. As hard as this year has been, it is beyond uplifting to know that we will finally see people getting back to work.”

Hundreds of people are now working on the initial phase of construction that includes preparing sites for more intensive work. When fully operational, the project will put more than 4,000 union members to work to replace the 340-mile Minnesota section.  Enbridge will invest approximately $2.6 billion to fund work across 14 counties and it 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 reviewed by state and federal agencies and regulators for almost six years.  The process started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden Administration. Enbridge submitted their application for the replacement of Line 3 to the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) in 2015 as part of the company’s integrity and maintenance driven program.

In November, the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency issued its 401-water certification, a key permit for the project.  This was followed by the Army Corp of Engineers issuing its 404-certification, the PUC issuing an order to construct the project, and the MPCA stormwater construction permit.

“After so many years of meetings and delays that had many of us wondering if this would ever happen, it has been great to see agencies get their work done and permits be issued,” King said.  “Minnesota has strong rules to regulate mining and projects like Line 3 for good reasons.  Yet in Minnesota, it seems our recent history for these projects has been filled more with delays than permits that result in work.  The fact Line 3 is now fully permitted and under construction is important for the people who need jobs and for our region where mining, pipelines and large-scale projects will continue to be a key part of our economy.  This has truly been a great and important week.”

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

County   Percentage
Kittson   14.1%
Beltrami   30.2%
Marshall   22.7%
Pennington   30.9%
Polk   26.6%
Red Lake   27.8%
Clearwater   37.8%
Hubbard   34.2%
Cass   42.3%
Crow Wing   37.4%
Aitkin   37.5%
Carlton   36.3%
St. Louis   37%
Wadena   33.3%


AVERAGE   32.01%

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