MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The back and forth over Enbridge’s Line 3 oil pipeline continues. The $2.9 billion project runs through Minnesota and parts of North Dakota and Wisconsin and crosses more than 200 bodies of water including the Mississippi River.
While it’s nearly finished, some are still trying to stop it.
“They want to prioritize corporate profits over the lives of indigenous women and the future of our planet,” said Rep. Ilhan Omar.
Enbridge says the Line 3 pipeline is more than 90% done, and will be up and running by the end of the year. But that’s not stopping protestors and officials like Rep. Ilhan Omar and her D.C. colleagues from trying to halt the project.
They have concerns about treaty rights violations and potential environmental impacts among other things.
“I’m here to help shut it down,” said Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI).
“The Line 3 pipeline threatens the prairies, it threatens the wild rice wetlands and the Mississippi tributaries and treaty lands of indigenous people,” said Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA).
Omar and other high profile democratic lawmakers will head to Northern Minnesota Saturday to see the line and hear from Indigenous leaders. They’re also petitioning the president to pull the permit.
“They have been looking into it we’ve been in constant conversation,” said Omar.
Earlier Friday, Minnesota lawmakers, union leaders and contractors stood up in support of the project, saying it provides a needed boost to the region.
“In northern Minnesota, the constituents I represent are happy that this project is moving forward, are happy about the economic benefits, are happy about the vetting process,” said Rep. Pete Stauber. “We’re going to protect good paying jobs and we’re going to protect these skilled workers.”
“Out of the $8.6 million, over $2.6 million went to my fellow Native Americans. To me that’s economic change and prosperity to our employees,” said Matthew Gordon, who owns a construction company that has a contract to work on Line 3.
Enbridge said the project would provide 6,500 local jobs 2,100 of them for union workers. WCCO asked them to share exact job totals and breakdowns from the project. While we did not receive those Friday, Enbridge says Native American workers make up 7% of the Line 3 workforce.
Minnesota commissioners from MnDOT, DPS and the DNR say the letter Omar and others signed and sent to the president about Line 3 had misleading information about the project.
When asked about it today, Omar said the fact the governor felt the need to respond shows her that they’re moving the needle.