(THIEF RIVER FALLS, MINN)        As courts consider requests from opponents of the Line 3 Replacement Project to delay construction, local business owners are urging judges to not stop the project.  The owners of Michael’s Meats in Thief River Falls say Line 3 construction work has had a positive impact on their business and the owners, Brian and Heidi Holmer, are concerned that courts could stop the project. 

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has been asked to delay or stop Line 3 construction work until other lawsuits challenging the project’s approval can be heard.  Construction work started in December and there are now more than 3,000 people working on the project.  The Line 3 project was 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.

“We’re excited that the project is finally underway and to see it bring an important positive economic impact to businesses and communities like ours and others along the route,” said Brian Holmer, co-owner of Michael’s Meats in Thief River Falls.  “We have already seen a lot more retail traffic. There is also a dramatic increase in business flooding across town from grocery stores to hotels, gas stations and more.  After all the challenges we had to deal with last year, having a court decision stop construction work now would be devastating.”

Workers on the project across the 14-county route are now doing the initial phase of construction.  This includes preparing different sites for more intensive work, moving construction matts, and other logistical work. When Line 3 construction is fully operational, more than 4,000 union members will be working to replace the 340-mile Minnesota section.  Enbridge is investing approximately $2.6 billion to fund work across 14 counties.  The company has already spent more than $165 million with tribal communities to help engage their members to connect them with construction jobs. 

In addition to directly supporting construction jobs, Line 3 has immediately brought important new retail spending to local communities that are trying to survive and recover from COVID and other economic challenges.  Restaurants, for example, are now providing take-away meals to help the businesses survive COVID restrictions that have closed dining rooms.  Local retail stores are also seeing more customers and hotels and resorts are able to rent rooms.

The Bureau of Business and Economic Research (BBER) at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics study estimated that that Line 3 will support 2,800 retail/hospitality sector jobs and 1,600 local supplier/manufacturer jobs.  The study also shows indirect positive economic impacts will include more than $160 million in non-local worker spending on meals, lodging, and incidentals while working in the study area.

For Michael’s Meats, Line 3 workers have had an immediate impact. The store has increased their inventory of existing products while also adding new items to provide ready-to-go foods for workers.  It has had an important, positive impact on their bottom line.  “The increase in sales is giving us an opportunity to invest in our business like buying new machinery, which otherwise we couldn’t afford,” Holmer said. “Enbridge means a great deal to the community and what the Line 3 Replacement Project promised to deliver is happening.  We have always known this project was good for Minnesota and now we are seeing this first-hand. We waited years for this to happen and it is our hope courts will do the right thing and let work continue to move forward.”

Contact: Susan Goudge
Susan@Minnesotansforline3.com | 218-556-3617