L3RP Offers Bigger, Brighter Future for Native Minnesotans
Posted September 17, 2019
Enbridge’s critically important Line 3 replacement project (L3RP) has gained significant support from Canadian First Nations leaders who urged Minnesotans to work with the pipeline company on the project in a recent op-ed in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:
“Enbridge addressed our concerns and supported our aspirations by investing in our people and working with us to improve our infrastructure and enhance social programs for our peoples. Over 300 million U.S. dollars were spent with First Nation and First Nation citizen-owned businesses. This economic stimulus benefited more than just the workers, it benefited the families and the Nations we represent.”
Line 3 is a 1,097-mile crude oil pipeline from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wisconsin, built in the 1960s. Enbridge has proposed replacing Line 3 to advance safety, reduce future maintenance and protect landowners and the environment. The company has planned a new 36-inch diameter pipeline to replace the existing 34-inch line along most of the existing route.
Support from Canadian First Nations leaders is based on Enbridge’s commitment to safely and sustainably operate the pipeline. Their decision shows that working alongside Enbridge has mutually benefited the Tribes and the pipeline company, culminating in efforts to protect the resources, lands and people of the First Nations.
Developing energy infrastructure involves the endorsement of numerous stakeholders – most notably, the impacted landowners – which is why the industry’s approach to pipeline construction is guided, first and foremost, by engagement with community members and landowners, including the First Nations and Native Americans.
While this collaborative and inclusive approach has shaped every aspect of the replacement project, from the pipeline route to environmental stewardship, it has also led to the establishment of economic initiatives that are assisting First Nations and Native American tradespeople on both sides of the U.S.-Canada border. The First Nation leaders explained:
“Over 1,100 of the jobs on the project were filled by indigenous people. Workforce development and job training programs brought new people into the construction trades, built capacity and provided lifelong career skills.”
And these career advancing opportunities are emerging in the U.S., too. For example, the Minneapolis-based Building Trades Tribal Partnership is providing pipeline construction training and industry employment pathways for the First Nations and Native Americans. The eight-week program offers training in welding and pipeline construction, and leverages Enbridge’s industry connections to help participants find immediate, well-paying employment. In fact, many graduates now work on the replacement project’s facility upgrade in Superior, Wisconsin.
In Minnesota, the L3RP stands to restore the pipeline’s operating capacity, reduce future maintenance and minimize environmental disruptions. At the same time, it can provide job training and employment opportunities for thousands of workers, including the indigenous men and women whose participation is vital to the project’s successful completion.
Going forward, Enbridge estimates spending nearly $100 million on L3RP-related training and hiring among Tribes in Minnesota. By expanding access to certificate programs and training-to-employment opportunities, the pipeline operator is developing Line 3 through indigenous engagement and empowerment.
All in all, the L3RP has the potential to create 6,500 local jobs, add $2 billion to the economy and increase property tax revenue by more than $35 million across Minnesota. The infrastructure upgrades will enable the continued delivery of affordable, reliable crude oil to the state’s refineries while also enhancing environmental protections and securing the economic future for Tribal communities.
Pipelines, like Enbridge’s Line 3, transport essential energy from production basins to U.S. refineries, which manufacture the petroleum products that fuel our cars, heat our homes and power our modern lives. Natural gas and oil pipelines are the safest, most efficient way to deliver energy to Americans for everyday use, and infrastructure improvement and expansion projects can enhance pipeline performance while also offering economic benefits for residents and local businesses.
The advantages of the U.S. energy revolution should be available to all Americans, and by advancing the L3RP, Minnesota can improve access to both homegrown energy and economic opportunity.
About The Author
Sam Winstel is a writer for the American Petroleum Institute. He comes to API from Edelman, where he supported communications marketing strategies for clients across the firm’s energy and federal government practices. Originally from Dallas, Texas, Sam graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina, and he currently resides in Washington, D.C.