Line 3 Replacement: Fact vs. fiction
An abundance of misinformation currently surrounds Enbridge’s replacement of our Line 3 pipeline across northern Minnesota.
See below for the fiction—and the facts—on the Line 3 Replacement Project.
Fiction: The project violates Indigenous rights.
FACT: Enbridge has consistently demonstrated that we respect Tribal sovereignty.
- As the result of our negotiations with Tribal leadership, we reached agreements to route the Line 3 Replacement Project outside of the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe reservation, and through the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa reservation.
- The project included a first-of-its kind Tribal Cultural Resource Survey, led by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa who managed a review of the more than 330-mile route in Minnesota through the 1855, 1837 and 1863/1864 treaty areas. Fond du Lac employed Tribal cultural experts who walked the full route, identifying and recording significant cultural resources to be avoided.
- The construction project is being built under the supervision of Tribal monitors with authority to stop construction, therefore ensuring that important cultural resources are protected.
- The two Tribes directly impacted by the pipeline have spoken and written repeatedly in support of project permits.
- As of May 2021, Enbridge has spent $250 million to date with Tribal nations, communities and contractors.
- More than 560 Native men and women had worked on Line 3, comprising roughly 6% of the workforce, when construction paused as scheduled in spring 2021.
Fiction: The project would carry “pollution equivalent" to 50 coal power plants.
FACT: Replacing Line 3 has no impact on greenhouse gas emissions, according to the project’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)
- Replacing Line 3 has no impact on production or use of fossil fuels.
- Restored capacity displaces crude oil being delivered today by more carbon intense transportation.
- The EIS notes the full volume transported on Line 3 would require 10 trains, each 110 tank cars long, or 4,000 tanker trucks travelling daily, all with greater emissions
Fiction: Enbridge does not respect the human rights of protesters
FACT: We understand there are differing opinions about the energy we all use. As a company, we recognize the rights of individuals and groups to express their views legally and peacefully.
- Enbridge recognizes governments have the primary responsibility to promote and protect human rights.
- Enbridge will work with governments and agencies to support and respect human rights within our sphere of influence.
- Enbridge will not tolerate human rights abuses and will not engage or be complicit in any activity that solicits or encourages human rights abuse.
- Enbridge will always strive to build trust, deliver mutual advantage, and demonstrate respect for human dignity and rights in all relationships it enters into, including respect for cultures, customs and values of individuals and groups.
Fiction: Economic benefits of the project are overstated.
FACT: The project is already providing significant economic benefits in Minnesota for counties, small businesses, Native American communities, and union members.
- The replacement of Line 3 has created thousands of family-sustaining construction jobs, and millions of dollars in local spending and tax revenue.
- During construction this past winter, more than 4,400 union workers were employed on the project.
- The project labor agreement stipulates that the contractor supplies 50% of the workforce and local union halls provide 50% of the workforce. In many cases local union halls include membership in neighboring states.
- There were not enough Minnesota union workers to fill the available jobs, requiring use of union workers from other states.
Fiction: Line 3 man camps are sites of human trafficking, put Indigenous women and children at risk
FACT: There are no man camps on Line 3. Enbridge is working to increase awareness of human trafficking.
- Enbridge has zero tolerance for such exploitation by anyone associated with our company or its projects.
- All workers are required to complete human trafficking awareness training to spot and report suspected trafficking situations.
- Anyone caught or arrested for such activity will be fired. And that’s exactly what happened to two contractors arrested in a trafficking sting. They were immediately fired by the contractor.
- Even prior to construction, Enbridge was working to raise awareness of human trafficking by partnering with contractors, Tribes, local government officials and Truckers Against Trafficking, a group that exists to educate, equip, empower and mobilize members of the trucking and travel industry to combat human trafficking.
Fiction: Enbridge is paying and privatizing local law enforcement.
FACT: The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) included a condition in the L3RP Route Permit establishing a public safety escrow account. Enbridge is required to pay into the account; an independent public safety escrow account manager decides how local law enforcement will be compensated for their costs.
- Community police and sheriff deputies are responsible for public safety.
- Officers decide when protestors are breaking the law—or putting themselves and others in danger.
- The costs to communities from illegal protests can be submitted to the Line 3 public safety escrow account for compensation.
- The independent Public Safety Escrow Account Manager, appointed by the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission, receives these bills—decides if they are appropriate—and reimburses communities accordingly.
Fiction: Officials should stop Line 3/fossil fuel infrastructure construction due to climate change.
FACT: Stopping Line 3 replacement will not stop oil flow, nor will it reduce impacts of climate change.
- This is a false choice—oil will still get to market by less safe, less energy-efficient means on truck and train.
- During a just energy transition from fossil fuels, Indigenous people, rich natural environments, and communities must be protected by newer, safer pipe and all families need safe, affordable energy.
- The vast majority of climate change emissions come from oil usage—a responsibility we all share.
- Enbridge was one of the first North American energy companies to pledge net zero GHG emissions by 2050.
- We received a grade of A- for our climate change efforts from the Carbon Disclosure Project.
Fiction: The Project will impact sacred wild rice watersheds in Ojibwe treaty territory.
FACT: Enbridge has and will continue to safely co-exist with sacred wild rice watersheds in Minnesota.
- Enbridge pipelines have safely co-existed in Ojibwe treaty territory for 70+ years.
- No data in regulatory record demonstrates that Enbridge has damaged Minnesota wild rice lakes.
- Significant Line 3 route changes were made to avoid a wild rice watershed sacred to White Earth Band of Ojibwe (WEBO).
Fiction: The project review didn’t sufficiently examine potential environmental impacts.
FACT: Line 3 far exceeds regulatory standards, and is the most studied pipeline in Minnesota history.
- 71 public meetings held over 6 years to gather input, thorough scientific review met and exceeded Minnesota legal and regulatory requirements.
- Regulators repeatedly approved and stood behind their decisions to approve this project.
- Opponent legal challenges are from groups unwilling to accept the science, the thorough science and evidence-based review of the project.
Fiction: This is a new pipeline in a new route.
FACT: The replacement route follows existing energy infrastructure for 75% route and deviations are the result of Tribal and stakeholder requests.
- Line 3 stays within the existing corridor over half of the way through Minnesota.
- Where replacement line does not follow existing line, it follows four pipelines owned by another company, then follows an existing power line corridor.
- The replacement route reflects Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe requests.
- There were 320 route modifications based on stakeholder input.
Fiction: Line 3 workers are spreading COVID-19.
FACT: To protect our team, workers and surrounding communities, Enbridge has instituted strict and industry-leading coronavirus testing and screening protocols for Line 3.
- These include repeated, regular COVID-19 testing and daily health and temperature screenings.
- Mandatory on-site safety protocols include wearing masks, observing strict physical distancing, and regularly sanitizing work areas.
- Testing, screening, distancing, cleaning and isolation protocols have worked very well to protect both workers and surrounding communities.
- Individual workers on Line 3 are undergoing multiple nasal swab tests for the coronavirus, including testing on the first and seventh day of employment on the project and then on a bi-weekly basis after that.
- Any worker infected with COVID-19, or in contact with an infected person, is not allowed access to the work site and is required to isolate and quarantine following State of Minnesota and CDC recognized guidance.
- We have already shared, and continue to share, our COVID-19 preparedness plan with state, local and regional health authorities. We are also engaging directly with communities to explain and answer questions about how our plan and preparations will help protect our workers and neighbors while we work to safely to build Line 3 in Minnesota.