The Line 3 replacement project resumed after a spring-thaw hiatus. Work is 60 percent complete, and the new pipeline – one of the largest privately funded projects in state history – remains on schedule to be completed and in service later this year.
While that is good news, it was disgraceful to see activists recently cause significant property damage, threaten workers and prevent people from working on this job.
While everyone’s right to peacefully and lawfully protest should be respected, what recently took place at Two Inlets pump station was criminal and dangerous. Reports indicate protesters attempted to trap workers while forcefully entering and then occupying the site, trespassing and criminally damaging property. This is unacceptable and all involved should face full prosecution.
It is insulting to those of us who live here to see extremists, many from other places around the country, come to our region to try to stop work even after the project passed muster during an exhaustive permitting process.
People here and throughout northern Minnesota are benefiting from thousands of jobs and millions of dollars in economic impact from this $3 billion private investment. The old pipeline is more than a half-century old, obsolete and needs to be replaced. Polling shows a majority of Minnesotans support the project and making sure construction continues.
The process to replace Line 3 started in 2014 during the Obama-Biden administration. The Line 3 project is now the most reviewed pipeline project in Minnesota history and has been intensely scrutinized by state and federal agencies and regulators for almost six years.
Instead of respecting the process and the community, these largely imported activists have trespassed and vandalized equipment that has impacted a Native American construction company.
Highly respected businesses, such as Gordon Construction, not only serve as top White Earth job providers, but also have served other valuable roles in our tribal communities for decades. This includes their efforts to ensure the new Line 3 does not cross White Earth or Leech Lake reservations. It is a slap in the face to our local businesses – especially tribal-owned outfits – to now suffer criminal property damages and threats to their own safety.
It’s time for the criminal acts to stop, for work to continue, and for us to make sure this project is completed so that we may continue to reap the environmental and economic benefits of replacing Line 3.