Enbridge moving pipeline equipment into place as start of construction looms

North end of what appears to be an Enbridge’s storage yard near Floodwood. (click on the image to enlarge.)

I’m a volunteer monitor for Watch the Line, a grassroots effort by people opposed to the Enbridge Line 3 crude oil pipeline. We are committed to preserving northern Minnesota’s clean waters and lands, including the Headwaters Region. We plan to closely monitor Line 3’s construction and report any suspected environmental violations.

Enbridge has notified landowners its intent to begin construction Monday, Nov. 30. During a monitoring trip today, I saw a lot of equipment that appeared to be staged for pipeline construction in a storage yard just south of Floodwood, near the proposed Line 3 route in St. Louis County.

(It’s informed speculation that it’s an Enbridge yard. I didn’t see any Enbridge signs. But it’s the only project in the area that would require this much equipment.)

The storage yard had a lot of stacked wood, which appears to be the matting needed to keep heavy equipment from sinking into the wetlands.

Central portion of the Floodwood storage yard: What appears to be wooden mats for supporting heavy equipment in wetlands. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

Wednesday, the Red Lake and White Earth Nations filed motions with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission seeking to stop construction until pending legal challenges are resolved. Undoubtedly, Enbridge will try to get as much Line 3 construction done as possible before the case gets heard.

Things will be happening fast.

The next Watch the Line monitor training will Sunday, Dec. 6 from 2-4 p.m. Register here.

Equipment on the south end of storage yard near Floodwood. (Click on image to enlarge.)
Screen capture from Watch the Line map, using Google maps. Floodwood is north. The red line is the approved Line 3 route. The blue circle with the house represents the storage yard.

One truck leaving the yard had Wisconsin plates. That’s noteworthy because people have been asking Gov. Tim Walz and Minnesota Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm to support a temporary halt on Line 3 construction if for no other reason than to reduce the influx of out-of-state workers and the increased risk they bring of coronavirus spread.

Truck leaving equipment storage yard near Floodwood with Wisconsin plates.

Today, Walz called on Minnesotans to “honor” those who have died from COVID-19 “on a day the state posted a record 101 deaths from the virus,” according to Bring Me the News. The story continues:

[Walz added:] “We must honor them by fighting this virus at every turn. We must redouble our efforts to protect one another.”

Minnesota’s Health Commissioner Jan Malcolm also issued a statement in which she said the Friday figures are “a sad development” but “not surprising.”

“For weeks we have been sounding the alarm about the dramatic growth in COVID-19 cases,” she said. “We know that more cases leads to more hospitalizations and deaths, and today’s news reinforces that tragic pattern.”

Yet neither state leader has stepped up to demand for a stoppage on Line 3 construction, a measure that would surely help us “protect one another.”

Contact Gov. Walz at: 651-201-3400 or through this on-line form.

Contact Commissioner Malcolm at: 651-201-5810 or jan.malcolm@state.mn.us

Enbridge plans to build Line 3 simultaneously along five “spreads.”

The proposed Line 3 route will cross the Mississippi River twice, once at the Headwaters and a second time in Aitkin County. Enbridge plans to use Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) at the two Line 3 Mississippi River crossings, where it would bore a tunnel under the river. (Click here for a Friends of the Headwaters map of the two crossings.)

Driving along Great River Road in Aitkin County today, a couple of miles south of the second Mississippi River crossing, there is what appears to be the beginnings of an equipment staging area (below).

Great River Road: Possible equipment staging area near where Line 3 would cross the Mississippi River in Aitkin County.
In Aitkin County, Line 3 would run parallel to an existing power line corridor. This is looking east from Great River Road, right before where Line 3 would crosses the Mississippi River.

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