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Stakeholders reflect on message Keystone decision could signal for Line 3

DULUTH, MN -- Local industry leaders, lawmakers, and environmentalists are reflecting on the message President Joe Biden's order to halt construction on the Keystone XL pipeline could signal for a major Northland project.

President Biden issued an executive order on his first day in office, halting the Keystone XL project.

For over a month now, Enbridge has been working on a $2.6 billion Line 3 pipeline replacement project in Minnesota.

The company currently has more than 5,000 workers replacing sections of that aging line, which runs from Canada to Superior.

An Enbridge spokesperson said, unlike Keystone XL, Line 3 is an operating pipeline. She said it is vital to both the economy and as an energy source.

"Replacing Line 3 is a safety and maintenance $2.6 billion pipeline improvement that will protect Minnesota’s waters and the environment for decades to come. It is also the most studied pipeline project in state history," Juli Kellner, an Enbridge communications spokesperson, wrote.

She said the Line 3 project has passed extensive environment and permitting reviews on the state and federal levels.

Meanwhile, opponents of the Line 3 project said they hope Biden will also put Line 3 construction to a halt, citing environmental concerns.

"If Biden does not Stop Line 3 then he, as all presidents before him, stands for the ongoing Genocide of Indigenous people," Taysha Martineau, an opponent of Line 3 who founded a resistance camp in Cloquet, said. "I hold no hope that anyone will save us, which is why it falls upon those of us on the ground to stop this pipeline."

Congressman Pete Stauber, representing Minnesota's 8th District, also reacted to the president's Keystone XL decision.

The republican slammed Biden for claiming to support unions during the campaign and then shutting down a project that put many people to work.

"Further, this shortsighted permit revocation sends a chilling message to pipeline and infrastructure projects nationwide, including in northern Minnesota," Stauber wrote.

Enbridge received the final greenlight from the state of Minnesota late in 2020. Construction began almost immediately.

Briggs LeSavage

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