Local View: Line 3 work already boosting bottom lines across northern Minnesota
From the column: "Local hotels are reporting an increase in room rentals, and small-town cafes and convenience stores are feeling the positive impact of pipeline workers in the region."
It is encouraging to see that for the first time in a long time our economy in northern Minnesota is starting to head in the right direction, all as a result of private investment.
Construction of the Line 3 Replacement Project started in December and is underway. All along the 330-mile route we are seeing very welcome boosts in our local economies. When thousands of employees and contractors are hard at work for months on end, they continue to spend money on products and services that our local small businesses provide.
Even better is that this activity has a ripple effect throughout the region. Local hotels are reporting an increase in room rentals, and small-town cafes and convenience stores are feeling the positive impact of pipeline workers in the region.
There are good reasons that so many mayors and communities along the route have been so supportive of this project throughout the approval process. They recognized the economic impact it would have, not to mention the increased safety from replacing aging infrastructure. County officials are also anxious to see the additional revenue in their general funds with taxes paid by Enbridge on an annual basis.
Before we even knew what COVID-19 was, our communities needed this. Now that the pandemic has hit our businesses so hard in 2020, we need this project even more. Enbridge has invested heavily in health and safety protocols to address COVID-19 and minimize risk in our communities, once again demonstrating how the company will not take any shortcuts in the construction of the safest pipeline in America.
The project has only just begun, and there are benefits to continue reaping far into 2021.
Let’s make sure this progress continues. Let’s make sure the courts do the right thing and that work continues. Peaceful protests are expected and acceptable. Putting people’s lives in danger with subversive and dangerous actions to damage equipment or having young people climb into the pipeline represent inappropriate behavior that must be dealt with through appropriate legal recourse. Stay safe, Minnesotans, stay safe.
Steve Giorgi of Mountain Iron is executive director of the Range Association of Municipalities and Schools, or RAMS. He wrote this for the News Tribune.