(BEMIDJI, MINN)           After waiting for more than six years as the Line 3 Replacement Project went through the approval process and then seeing the dramatic, positive impact from the first four months of construction, local leaders say their communities are ready for work to re-start.  They point to a recent poll showing strong support for Line 3 that connects with results being seen in communities across the region as examples of how Line 3 has delivered on its economic impact promise.  After a planned, two-month pause, construction work will restart in June.

“Replacement of Line 3 not only is helping the county but the school district too as far as ongoing revenue from the property tax that it is bringing in,” said Brian Holmer, Mayor of Thief River Falls.  “In addition to construction, it has also added maintenance workers. Thief River Falls has a maintenance operations headquarter here, so there are going to be added people that are going to have to maintain and monitor this.  Almost all of our businesses appreciate the extra spending that’s happening when workers and others that are part of the project have to fuel up with gas, go to the local hardware store to get nuts and bolts, and whatever it may be.”

“It’s going to have a ripple down effect for years,” said Clearbrook Mayor Dylan Goudge. “Just because everybody was struggling because of Covid, people weren’t really working and others were laid off. Our restaurants were closed, and then they were open for takeout only. The bars, everything, has seen the trickle down effect. For the business owners and the people within the city of Clearbrook too – I should say all of rural Clearwater County for that matter – it’s helping everybody.”

A recent poll showed that a majority of Minnesotans not only support the decision to grant the project final permits, a strong majority also believe the project should be allowed to be completed.  Sixty percent say that Enbridge should have been given permission to build the Line 3 replacement pipeline and sixty-five percent say that Enbridge should be allowed to complete construction work.  A majority see the project as important to Northern Minnesota’s economy and three-fourths say Line 3 has been important for jumpstarting the Northern Minnesota economy.

The findings are from a new American Strategies poll of registered voters in Minnesota that was conducted from April 15 to April 19, 2021.

“The polling was no surprise to myself and a lot of people from our community,” Holmer said. “It’s clear to me that some of the things as a result of construction that are happening are pulling us out of the hole that we had. We were ready for this to move forward before Covid throughout the 6 years just anticipating this project. Having it finally start created the boost in the community that we needed.  It clearly has helped some of our businesses to survive and expand.”

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. 

Construction work on the Line 3 Replacement Project has been in a planned pause for two months because of seasonal road restrictions related to the transition from winter to spring.  Crews are preparing to re-start work again in June.  They have already completed more than half of the project in the first four months.  During the first phase of work, the project has supported a workforce that at times exceeded 5,000 people across the route’s 14 counties. 

The effort to replace Line 3 started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden Administration as part of a review of America’s operating energy infrastructure.  Federal regulators and Enbridge agreed to a consent decree that ordered the company to replace the pipeline.  Enbridge worked with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and the agency’s robust review process by submitting an application to seek approval for replacing Line 3 in 2015.  The replacement project was part of Enbridge’s integrity and maintenance driven program. 

After more than six years of review by state and federal agencies, Line 3 is now the most reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history.  For people who have closely followed the Line 3 permitting process, seeing the final approvals happen was an important moment. 

Contact: Susan Goudge | 218-556-3617