(BEMIDJI, MINN)           While Minnesota Governor Tim Walz and members of the State Legislature who are meeting in a special legislative session continue to negotiate which projects will be funded with taxpayer dollars, the number of people needing economic help in the 14 counties where the Line 3 Replacement project will be built continues to increase.  The latest information from the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) shows the average percentage of workers in the 14 “Line 3 Counties” who have filed unemployment insurance claims is now above 23 percent. 

The Line 3 project is the most reviewed and studied pipeline project in Minnesota history and will invest approximately $2.6 billion in private-sector dollars to create more than 4,000 family-supporting union jobs. This is the 6th week in a row the percentage rate has increased since Minnesotans for Line 3 has been tracking the data and shows the growing need to find ways to get people back to work.

“While it seems it is almost impossible for the legislative process to create an agreement on anything, the one thing we should all be able to support is the need to get people across Northern Minnesota back to work by making sure Line 3 is approved this year,” said Susan Goudge from Minnesotans for Line 3. “This data reaffirms the fact the people need hope, help, and jobs to support their families and communities as soon as possible.  Not only does Line 3 not need any taxpayer dollars, it will create an immediate and important impact and it’s time for Governor Walz to make sure construction starts this year.”

The Line 3 project has been under review by agencies and regulators for more than five years. If construction is able to start this year, the project will immediately create more than 4,000 good paying, union jobs in cities across Northern Minnesota.  To replace the aging energy infrastructure, Enbridge will invest approximately $2.6 billion into local economies during construction.  As the company continues to plan for the project, Enbridge has already spent more than $80 million in local communities and to help train tribal members for construction jobs. 

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s decision to hold a contested case hearing on key permits for the project means the earliest construction could start would be mid-November of this year.  In June the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) voted 4-1 to deny requests from the Minnesota Department of Commerce and other project opponents to reconsider its approval of both the certificate of need and the route permit.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz is now considering a legal challenge to the PUC decisions.  Any additional legal challenges filed by the Walz Administration would likely create additional delays resulting in construction work being put off until 2021 at the earliest.

“If Governor Walz and the legislature finally agree to spend our taxpayer dollars on projects that are likely to not get started this year, we need to at least make sure Minnesota also approves a project that is guaranteed to put people to work this year,” Goudge said.  “In a year of COVID and what has happened in Minneapolis and Saint Paul, we cannot forget people across Northern Minnesota who need economic help that Line 3 will bring.  Governor Walz needs to live up to his “One Minnesota” vision by not appealing the PUC and making sure the MPCA issues the permits this year.”

Latest unemployment information for Line 3 Counties as of July 13th

County   Percentage
Kittson 10.7%
Beltrami   22.5%
Marshall 15.2%
Pennington 21.6%
Polk 19.6%
Red Lake 19.2%
Clearwater 27.5%
Hubbard 25.1%
Cass 31.5%
Crow Wing 27.9%
Aitkin 25.3%
Carlton 27.3%
St. Louis 28.3%
Wadena 24.7%
AVERAGE   22.31%

Percentage 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