Jun 2, 2021 - News

Enbridge's Line 3 replacement construction resumes

Construction on the Enbridge Line 3 replacement in northern Minnesota.

Crews are coming back out this week to ramp up construction on the Line 3 replacement. Photo courtesy of Enbridge

After a planned recess, crews are ramping up construction again on the $4 billion Enbridge Line 3 replacement in northern Minnesota.

The state of play: The number of workers handling the roughly 340-mile pipeline project β€” which is 60% complete β€” is expected to jump from around 1,000 during the pause to 4,000 this month, Mike Fernandez, senior vice president at Enbridge, told Axios.

Why it matters: Enbridge says the project is an economic boon to northern Minnesota, but Indigenous and environmental activists continue to fight against it.

  • Activists say it violates tribal rights, increases reliance on oil and could lead to a massive spill.

By the numbers: Enbridge reported at the end of 2020 that only about 33% of on-site workers were Minnesotans, which drew criticism from opponents for not fulfilling promises of hiring 50% local.

  • That number reached 50% in the early part of 2021, a Laborers' International Union representative told the Duluth News Tribune.
  • "We're now operating [at 50%] ... and [going forward] well over half will be Minnesotans, and most of those that aren't will be from neighboring states like Wisconsin," Fernandez said.

What to watch: Hundreds are planning to protest at yet-unidentified sites along the line Saturday through Tuesday, with major events scheduled Monday, June 7, according to organizers.

  • Activists are also appealing a key water permit issued by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
  • Barring setbacks, construction is scheduled to continue until completion in the fourth quarter of this year.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more

More Twin Cities stories

No stories could be found

Twin Citiespostcard

Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Twin Cities.


Support local journalism by becoming a member.

Learn more