LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Line 3 tribal spending having positive impact
We’ve all been weathering challenges over the past several months -- worrying about COVID-19 and the economic impact it is having in the region. So it’s great to have some good news to share. You may remember Enbridge committed to spending $100 million on training, employment and contracting with tribal individuals and businesses as part of the Line 3 Replacement Project. We’re able to report Enbridge has already spent $95 million with Tribes and Native-owned businesses -- and we’re poised to spend much more once final permits are received and construction begins on replacing Line 3 in Minnesota.
These dollars have fueled Native-owned businesses like Gordon Construction to build capacity and hire tribal members to go to work on Enbridge projects. Tribal members have also gained skills and connections through empowerment training provided through Five Skies Training and Consulting, a 100% Native-owned small business. Training programs developed collaboratively with Tribes and the Minnesota building trades are helping Tribal members prepare for new careers that will start with the construction of Line 3. Many more contracts and opportunities will start once the project begins.
The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa led the longest and most extensive Tribal Cultural Resource Properties Survey ever performed on a pipeline project in Minnesota. Over 30 tribes consulted with the Army Corps of Engineers on this project. Now Tribal monitors are getting ready to go to work protecting these resources identified during the survey.
This shovel-ready, safety-focused $2.6 billion private investment in Minnesota will put 4,200 primarily local union members to work in family sustaining construction jobs. Communities along the right of way are poised to benefit immediately from millions of dollars in construction spending and an ongoing boost in tax revenues.
Line 3 is a good way to kick-start the economic recovery of our region, and the $100 million infusion into Native-owned business is another reason this project helps the region. This project not only meets Minnesota’s energy needs, but it replaces an aging pipeline with new, modern construction. It is also the safest and best option for protecting the environment and communities.
Gail Wahlberg, Duluth, is specialist, supply chain management, Indigenous Engagement, for Enbridge.