The receipts are coming in and some towns along the path of Enbridge’s Line 3 replacement are showing a direct benefit from the workers who came to complete the project.
Apparently, the direct financial benefits to at least some of the communities along its path are as advertised, according to a pair of reports published last week.
The arguments for and against Line 3 are well known. Opponents say it is contributing to climate change and that it’s wrong to place an oil line in environmentally sensitive areas. Although it’s complete, they plan to continue to protest its existence.
Proponents say it was needed and also that underground lines are the best way to transport oil across the country.
Those arguments have been around for months. Now comes new information from the communities near the 1,000-mile pipeline about the business they did with the project’s 4,000 workers.
- The Grand Forks Herald last week reported the visitors bureau in Thief River Falls showed its August lodging tax collections were double those collected in August 2020. It was the first time since before the pandemic that the community’s lodging taxes were anywhere near a historic normal.
- Also in August, Minnesota’s tourism department reported that 92% of lodging businesses in northwest Minnesota showed higher or significantly higher revenue in summer 2021 compared to 2020.
- Crookston saw an increased number of visitors over the summer. The head of the Crookston Visitors Bureau attributed much of it to pipeline workers and their families.
- Also last week, Minnesota Public Radio reported on the impact of workers in places like Backus, Minnesota. MPR’s report quoted Corner Store owner Dave Sheley, who said that during the morning rush on days this year, “we’d have people just lined up back all the way to the cooler sometimes.” It was difficult, he said, but without the crowds that came with the Line 3 project, “we would have been really hurting there for a while.”
The MPR story noted the influx of workers also was felt at other businesses, including auto repair shops, a meat locker and those who rent homes and apartments.
To tout the project’s worth is, no doubt, offensive to those who say it came at a much higher cost to the region, the nation and the planet. Count Winona LaDuke among them.
In a column distributed by Forum News Service this month, she wrote that Enbridge secured 5 billion gallons of water during a drought and drained wetlands and rivers, cracked an aquifer in Clearwater County and caused “major damage to the water table” upon a deviation from the approved construction plan.
Everyone deserves their say. We have backed Line 3’s project because of what we believe is its worth to the economy and because we believe its benefits will boost the region. Opponents still contend it’s too environmentally dangerous and contributes to climate change.
But today, we enjoy hearing the accounts of the financial windfall that some received during the Line 3 project, which came at a time when Minnesota businesses and communities needed it most.
This other view is the opinion of the editorial board of our sister publication, the Grand Forks Herald.