Supporting tribal communities is an important part of the Line 3 project. How has Enbridge included and supported tribal communities in projects outside of Minnesota?
Enbridge has worked extremely hard from the beginning of the Line 3 project to engage and support tribal communities across Minnesota. This has included listening to their concerns and making changes in the project, to working on ways to ensure members of tribal communities are part of the workforce that will be needed to build the new Line 3.
All of this is part of the company’s proven commitment to partner and support tribal communities wherever its lines are located. What many in Minnesota have not seen is how strong this commitment is in communities where work and other projects have been completed.
In Minnesota, Enbridge has pledged to allocate $100 million for tribal economic opportunities as part of the Line 3 replacement project. This would take the form of contracts with Native-owned businesses, employment of tribal members, and grants for workforce training.
Opponents have raised questions about this pledge, challenging the company’s commitment and wondering how likely Enbridge is to follow through with their commitment.
One only needs to look at recent construction on the Canadian portion of the Line 3 replacement and other projects in North America to see first-hand Enbridge’s commitment to tribal inclusion. This is a great way to see how Enbridge views relationships with tribal communities and how they will deliver on their commitment to this essential project in Minnesota.
Enbridge has worked closely with Indigenous communities in Canada, regularly dealing with 200 Indigenous communities throughout the country. The Canadian portion of the line 3 project, which was completed in May of 2019, had an unprecedented level of indigenous inclusion and participation, which included:
- Engaging 154 Indigenous communities about the project
- 98 indigenous communities or groups were signatories to agreements on Traditional Land Use, procurement, training and employment opportunities, environmental stewardship, and construction monitoring.
- Indigenous brokers were used to recruit and identify job candidates in their regions
- Supply chain processes required bidders to detail their plans for Indigenous inclusion when responding to Requests for Proposals
- There was approximately $400 million of indigenous project spending, which included labor and contracting, capacity building and community sustainability initiatives. $116 million of this was wages to indigenous workers.
- Over 1,100 indigenous workers were employed at peak construction (20% of the project’s total workforce)
- Over 3 years, 260 indigenous workers graduated from Enbridge’s Pipeline 101 training-to-employment program.
Lowa Beebe, public relations liaison with the Alberta office of the Assembly of First Nations (AFN) talked about Enbridge’s inclusion of Indigenous communities in the Canadian portion of the Line 3 Project: “I’m very honoured to be here today. I’m very honoured to bring an Indigenous voice today, and to actually say engagement is happening, and this is the way it should happen. Line 3 is unique. I want to stand here and celebrate today, and really say they’ve done a fantastic job, they’ve done a great job, and they’re continuing to do a job.”
On Indigenous Peoples Day, Al Monaco, CEO of Enbridge wrote, “Building strong, trusting relationships with Indigenous communities, over time, is a precondition to doing business.” With the level of engagement involved in the Canadian portion of the project, and the plan to allocate $100 million for tribal economic opportunities for the Line 3 project in Minnesota, Enbridge is demonstrating that they walk their talk when it comes to tribal inclusion.