FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 18, 2018
The Johnson Bergstrom Administration Will Support Pipeline Projects Like Enbridge Line 3
Walz/Flanagan team more likely to attend pipeline protest than ribbon cutting
New Brighton, MN -- Minnesota Republican Candidate for Governor Jeff Johnson today reaffirmed his support for the proposed Enbridge Line 3 pipeline project saying the jobs it will create both short term and long term should be championed by Minnesota’s next governor, not protested. Last year, Tim Walz’s running mate Peggy Flanagan participated in a protest rally against the Dakota Access Pipeline Project.
“Minnesota’s economy needs Line 3 and our families and communities need the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment this project will bring to our state,” said Johnson. “Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan are more likely to attend a pipeline protest rally than a ribbon cutting. If I am elected I will make sure this gets done.”
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission unanimously approved the project after an exhaustive regulatory review process, yet the State of Minnesota has not issued permits and other needed approvals to allow what would be Minnesota’s largest privately-funded construction project to move forward. The pipeline would create thousands of construction jobs as well as support Minnesota’s two oil refineries and the thousands of existing jobs that depend on having access to a safe and dependable source of oil.
Johnson was joined by Matt Gordon, Director of Operations for Gordon Construction, a Native American-owned construction company that will build part of the Line 3 project. Gordon, who is an enrolled member of the White Earth Nation called on State Representative Peggy Flanagan, who is a citizen of the White Earth Nation of Ojibwe, to specifically support Line 3 because of the jobs in tribal communities it will create for companies like Gordon Construction.
“Representative Flanagan and I both know how much tribal communities need good paying jobs and the economic opportunities they bring to workers and their families,” said Minnesota Republican Candidate for Lt. Governor Donna Bergstrom. “Companies like Gordon Construction have made it a priority to hire as many tribal members as possible. Line 3 represents an important opportunity to bring the jobs to our communities. This project has passed every important test and needs to keep moving forward.”
Gordon Construction is an American Indian-owned company that is based in Mahnomen. It has worked on Shooting Star casino, a clinic in Sisseton, S.D., and a public library in Bemidji. The company is now doing maintenance work on several Enbridge pipe yards and will work with Duluth-based United Piping to build several new pump stations when construction on Line 3 begins. Line 3 construction could help the company expand and hire many more workers from tribal communities at such an important time for Minnesota.
“Our family and our company understand both the importance of protecting our environment and the need to bring jobs and economic hope to our communities,” said Matt Gordon, Director of Operations for Gordon Construction. “This project does both in a way that is good for everyone. I understand that some may have different opinions about issues related to pipelines. What no one can argue with is the need to bring jobs to White Earth and other tribal communities. Line 3 will do that and now that it has been approved, we just want the chance to get to work. We need leadership to make sure it happens.”
Line 3 is a 34-inch diameter, 1,097-mile-long oil pipeline that runs from Alberta, Canada to Superior, Wisconsin. It was built in the 1960s and put into service in 1968 with 337 miles of the line in Minnesota. Line 3 delivers a variety of crude oil based on customer demands. It is a key part of Minnesota’s energy infrastructure that provides the majority of crude oil to the Flint Hills and Marathon refineries.
Enbridge started the process to secure permits and approvals to replace Line 3 in 2014. It worked closely with regulators and the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission to complete the review and assessment process as part of its application for a certificate of need and an approval for a route. The State of Minnesota and Enbridge participated in a number of public meetings, hearings, and comment periods that led to a unanimous vote in June 2018 to approve the certificate of need. The PUC also approved the route and in August Enbridge and the Fond du Lac Band of Superior Chippewa reached an agreement to complete work to finalize the route.
Despite the two PUC approvals, the Minnesota Department of Commerce has yet to authorize the route, which stops the company’s ability to work with various federal, state and local government agencies to secure permits to allow construction work to begin.
Work to build the line is estimated to create approximately 8,600 jobs (6,500 of them local) in Minnesota over a two-year period that includes about 4,200 construction jobs, half of which are expected to be filled locally. Enbridge is paying for the entire project that will create an estimated $2 billion boost to the Minnesota economy during design and construction.
“The State of Minnesota moved heaven and earth to get projects like the U.S. Bank Stadium approved, even though taxpayers were left with a big part of the bill,” Johnson said. “Line 3’s construction budget is more than double the size of U.S. Bank Stadium and is privately funded. The PUC did their job. It’s time to start moving dirt and get this done. Minnesota knows my administration will make sure that will happen and the real question for voters is whether the Walz/Flanagan team will do the same. It’s a clear choice that will make a real difference for thousands of Minnesota families.”
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