PUC did nothing to hold the company accountable for jobs pledge
Enbridge Energy sold Line 3 to Minnesota regulators saying it would be a jobs engine for Minnesota workers. It said Line 3 would create 8,600 jobs, and 6,500 or 75 percent would be local jobs.
When Enbridge released its Line 3 jobs reports for the 4th quarter of 2020, it was roundly criticized for failing to meet its target. It missed by a mile. Minnesotans held only 33 percent of Line 3 jobs, and worked only 28 percent of total hours.
Enbridge just released its Line 3 jobs report for the 1st quarter of 2021. It’s solution to meeting its local jobs promise seems to be to omit the data and hope nobody notices.
Making matters worse, state regulators doesn’t seem to care.
You can be assured if Enbridge had kept is word and 75 percent of Line 3 jobs went to Minnesota residents, it would be trumpeting it. The fact that it omitted the information from the report surely means the company again fell short of its promise.
On June 27, 2018, one day before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved Line 3’s permits, PUC Commissioner John Tuma spoke to the importance of local job creation:
It’s like building two Vikings stadiums, “the Super Bowl of Super Bowl of projects,” he said. “That’s the big selling point.”
Several other commissioners mentioned job creation as a reason to approve the project.
Yet the PUC imposed no sanctions on Enbridge if it failed to meet its jobs promise. It didn’t even require Enbridge to report local job creation. Because of the PUC’s quasi-judicial status, board and staff decline to respond to questions on the local jobs shortfall.
The PUC should have treated the Line 3 permits like a contract: “We will give you permission to build this pipeline under these conditions. If you fail to meet those conditions, then there are consequences.” It could be a $10 million fine, permit revocation, something to make sure that Minnesota got some meager benefit from this unnecessary pipeline.
There’s no way to hold the PUC accountable for its embarrassingly lax oversight.
Enbridge’s 1st quarter 2021 jobs report includes the number Indigenous people hired on Line 3, one piece of information the PUC did require Enbridge report.
Here are examples of the differences between Enbridge’s 4th quarter, 2000 and 1st quarter, 2001 jobs reports.
The PUC’s failure to hold Enbridge accountable for its jobs promise is one of many examples where the Commission is more aligned with company’s interests than the public interest. The term of art is “corporate capture” or “regulatory capture,” where industry co-opts regulatory bodies for its own advantage.
Water protectors are thrown in jail and/or fined for trespassing on Line 3 right of way, trying to protect our climate and clean water. Enbridge fails to meet a critical promise it made to state regulators and nothing happens.
It’s just one more example that our justice system is screwed up.