(AITKIN, MINN) Construction crews this week completed the final horizontal drilling locations as work on the Line 3 Replacement project is now more than 80 percent complete.  As work continues to move forward, a community leader today called on groups opposed to the project to stop protests as the region prepares to move forward when the line is in operation.  Work on the more than $2 billion dollar project started last December and is expected to be complete later this year.  After more than six years of review and close to a year of construction work, former Aitkin Mayor Garry Tibbitts says it’s time for people to come together and move forward as a region.

“I respect and understand that there are people who do not support this project, but at the same time there is an important reality that we all need to recognize and respect,” said former Aitkin Mayor Gary Tibbitts.  “Instead of continuing protests focused on trying to stop a project that will be completed, it’s time for everyone to instead focus on what’s next and how we all move forward.  The process worked, and it’s beyond time for people to accept that this year we have created jobs, invested in our communities, and done even more to protect the environment.”

Construction crews are now working on the final phase of the project that includes completing new pump stations, installing the remaining sections of pipe, and doing work to restore areas where the new line has already been installed.  Work to replace the more than 300 miles of aging pipeline started in December of last year.  Legal challenges by groups opposed to the project have been repeatedly rejected by courts, allowing work to continue.

“The process has worked, yet for some its outcome was not what they wanted or expected,” Tibbitts said.  “The challenge to everyone is to accept the result and come together as a broader community.  The protests related to Line 3 were aggressive and unfortunately intense, yet they were not able to stop the project.  Our communities have seen enough violence, our first responders have been pushed too far for too long, workers have been dealing with threats for month after month and it’s really time for people opposed to Line 3 to accept the final outcome.  Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project is closer than ever to being a reality.”

While nationally funded groups have continued to organize and support violent protests that have seen people lock themselves to equipment, damage property, and threaten the safety of workers, the Line 3 project remains on time and on budget.  The decision to replace Line 3 was made by the Obama Administration. The Biden Administration recently filed its support of federal permits for the project as part of legal proceedings.  Minnesota Governor Tim Walz recently reaffirmed his support for the project via an editorial in the Duluth News Tribune.

“This has been a complicated project that has been thoroughly reviewed, studied, and analyzed,” Tibbitts said.  “People like me who have supported it from the start wanted to see the process move faster, but had to accept the final outcome and timeline.  For some reason people opposed to it before any of the facts were reviewed have difficulty accepting the outcome after the facts were reviewed.  As a former elected official, I know first-hand how important it is to accept reality and move forward.  I and over 100,000 Line 3 supporters across the state of Minnesota are hopeful that this can now happen as work gets closer to being complete.”

Contact: Susan Goudge | 218-556-3617