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 — which is 60% complete — 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.
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