(PLUMMER, MINN)       Communities in the 14 counties along the Line 3 pipeline route have been seeing incredible benefits since construction began on the pipeline project back in December. Line 3 workers living in and traveling through towns and cities in Northern Minnesota are bringing numerous advantages to small businesses – many of which were struggling after 2020’s shutdowns and restrictions.

Mayor James DuChamp of Plummer and Mayor Dale Stainbrook of Crookston are two of the many elected officials who are grateful for the Line 3 pipeline replacement project and the much-needed boost is has brought to their towns.

“Line 3 has been very positive, we’ve had businesses that were really struggling, that are seeing an influx of business,” said Mayor DuChamp. “The pipeline workers are very friendly. I go to the coffee shop in the morning, and I meet some of them, and they come back and greet us and likewise. Just after a tough year it’s really nice to see people coming through the doors and spending some money.”

While Crookston is a bit further from Line 3, they too have seen a positive impact at their local establishments.  “We have had more of a trickledown effect, but it has been a boost to our local economy,” said Mayor Stainbrook. “The biggest impact is on the north end of our town, where motels and restaurants and fast food are, and convenience stores. And three of the major lodging places did see a great impact of Line 3 workers there.”

While winter months and COVID have hit Crookston’s small businesses hard, Line 3 workers have brought some much-needed relief. “With this boost of the Line 3 workers, it helped out with the hotels and restaurants’ bottom line,” Mayor Stainbrook said. “It has helped prevent potential layoffs or deciding between maybe shutting their doors or keeping their doors open. So, it has been a benefit to our town.” 

Construction on the Line 3 pipeline project began less than five months ago following six years of intensive studies and reviews where Enbridge garnered more than a dozen state and federal permits. This pipeline replacement project was deemed necessary under a consent decree from the Obama/Biden Administration to replace an aging pipeline that was built in the 1960s. Thus far, Enbridge has hired more than 5,000 pipeline workers and construction is nearly 60 percent complete.

Construction work on the Line 3 Replacement Project is paused now for two months because of seasonal road restrictions related to the seasonal transition from winter to spring

Mayor DuChamp formerly did a lot of inspecting of the pipeline for the county in his previous career and applauds Enbridge for respecting the environment and their surroundings. “I always said when Enbridge left it was way better than when they came,” DuChamp said.  “If we needed gravel on the roads, they put the gravel on we asked for. If we needed some ditch improvements when they went through the ditch on the right of way, they fixed that up. They’ve been very very good to work with.”

What’s even more, is the support both of these communities have gotten from Enbridge directly. In Plummer, Mayor DuChamp shares a story, “And from our fire department Enbridge has donated over the years I don’t know how many vehicles and helped us with various community projects when we needed some help, some extra funding we got ahold of Enbridge and our hands were out and they were right there with it.” 

Mayor Stainbrook also happily detailed how supportive and generous Enbridge has been to their community, “They’ve made donations to our police and fire departments. And Enbridge has helped out tremendously doing grants or giving donations to what the needs of our community are as far as safety and protection. 

An additional advantage is that Line 3 helps the agriculture community in Crookston and across the state. “You’ve got to remember this whole region is agriculture, it’s farming, and get this – oil not being transported on rail anymore and to free up these rails, these cars for ag related business,” Mayor Stainbrook shares. “I know the farming community here, they’re behind this Line 3 project 100 percent. We need to free up those rail cars to move ag products.” 

For Plummer, the benefits will not just be short-term during construction, but will be felt long-term as well. “We have a pump station a half a mile from our community,” said Mayor DuChamp. “Enbridge has workers out there every day of the week and they’re coming in and patronizing our local businesses. Plus, the tax benefits to our community, our county, and our school districts is just huge. Obviously, Enbridge is taxed a certain amount of dollars for the product that goes through here and that all comes back to our school district, our community, and our county. Helps with roads, helps with our programs, the taxes are just great to us.”