In a press conference on Thursday, Republican gubernatorial candidate Jeff Johnson and his running mate, Donna Bergstrom, reaffirmed their support for the proposed Enbridge Line 3 pipeline.
“Minnesota’s economy needs Line 3 and our families and communities need the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in investment this project will bring to our state,” said Johnson.
Johnson called out his opponent, Democrat Tim Walz, for failing to support the pipeline. He also noted that Walz’s running mate, Peggy Flanagan, has been a vocal opponent of the Line 3 proposal.
“Tim Walz and Peggy Flanagan are more likely to attend a pipeline protest rally than a ribbon cutting. If I am elected I will make sure this gets done,” Johnson said.
Enbridge is looking to replace the original Line 3, which was built in the 1960s, with a new line that would feature up-to-date technology. Most importantly, Johnson said, the line would be “environmentally safer.”
The privately-funded project is estimated to create a $2 billion boost to Minnesota’s economy during the design and construction of the line.
The construction of the line is also estimated to create around 8,600 jobs in Minnesota over a two-year period.
Despite this, Line 3 continues to be stalled by government processes. Currently, the Public Utilities Commission has approved the project, but the the Minnesota Department of Commerce has yet to authorize the route. Johnson noted the need for a “rigorous” permitting process, but said approval for Line 3 “continues to take longer than it should.”
“The State of Minnesota moved heaven and earth to get projects like the U.S. Bank Stadium approved, even though taxpayers were left with a big part of the bill,” Johnson said. “Line 3’s construction budget is more than double the size of U.S. Bank Stadium and is privately funded. The PUC did their job. It’s time to start moving dirt and get this done.”
During the press conference, Johnson was joined by Matt Gordon, Director of Operations for Gordon Construction. Gordon Construction is an American Indian-owned company, and the Line 3 project could help the company expand and hire many more workers from tribal communities.
“Our family and our company understand both the importance of protecting our environment and the need to bring jobs and economic hope to our communities,” Gordon said. “This project does both in a way that is good for everyone. I understand that some may have different opinions about issues related to pipelines. What no one can argue with is the need to bring jobs to White Earth and other tribal communities. Line 3 will do that and now that it has been approved, we just want the chance to get to work. We need leadership to make sure it happens.”
Watch the press conference below: