What is being done to make sure that tribal cultural resources along the route are preserved?
The Line 3 replacement route will cross through 337 miles of northern Minnesota, an area that contains numerous archaeological resources of historical and cultural significance. To ensure that important artifacts and resources along this route are preserved, Enbridge has fully funded an unprecedented cultural resources survey along the route. This work was recently completed, and has resulted in changes to the route as needed.
The Public Utilities Commission ruled that the survey must be complete before construction could begin. Originally, the Army Corps of Engineers had ordered a survey on 66 miles of the route. After tribes requested that 201 miles of the route be surveyed, Enbridge chose to fund a survey along the entire 337 miles of the route. Work began in late 2017, and was completed by August 2018.
Led by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, the survey is the largest of its kind ever attempted in the energy industry, involving nine tribes participating directly, and over 30 tribes involved via the Army Corps of Engineers. Using GPS and oral histories from tribal leaders, the survey has uncovered sites and artifacts of cultural significance, including potential stone tools, human-made mounds, pottery, arrowheads, and a possible hidden village.
Jim Jones, a project manager for the survey and member of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe explains the significance of this survey in a WCCO interview:
“A project like this has never been done across tribal communities or with energy companies, and they really set a precedent. And for Fond du Lac to take the lead on that is really unique, working with Enbridge on that, is the first of its kind in the nation”
As the construction phase of the project starts, tribal monitors will be hired to make sure that the identified cultural resources along the route are protected.