The recent Pioneer article “Beltrami County unemployment rate highest since 2011” describes how the unemployment rate has skyrocketed since the COVID-19 shutdown in Beltrami County and other northern counties. Unemployment is up more than 10 percent since the start of quarantine. Many have speculated that even when the economy does fully open, that the unemployment rate won’t recover to what it was prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.

There is one way that we could move the unemployment rate in a better direction in these counties. We need to approve the Line 3 Replacement Project and make sure construction starts this year.

Line 3 will replace a pipeline that is over 50 years old that supplies 75% of the petroleum used in Minnesota refineries. This project has been in the review process for more than five years and has seemingly passed every test and requirement the state has put in front of it.

To build it the project will require thousands of union workers starting work as soon as this November who will be staying all throughout these counties in Northern Minnesota. They will live and eat in the area for months as this project moves along.

This project will bring over $2 billion of private money into Minnesota. It will provide for all types of businesses across our Northern Counties, and families all over the state. This pipeline replacement will also ensure that we have the safest, most reliable source of petroleum our state could have at absolutely zero cost to the public (except for the cost of the bureaucracy that has slowed down the process of approving the project).

It is long past time that this project gets underway. Not only is it the right thing for our state economically, especially in a time of great despair, but it has also been proven the right thing for the environment.

Minnesota needs petroleum, Minnesota needs jobs, and Minnesota deserves the right not to be lied to by politicians who are most interested in winning another election. Tell your public officials that we need to start construction on the Line 3 Replacement. It will boost the economy of not only northern Minnesota, but the rest of Minnesota as well.