The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (PUC) approved a scheme for Enbridge to reimburse local law enforcement and fire departments for any Line 3-related expenses they incurred. This blog recently updated the reimbursements and it turns out it under reported the amount. Based on new information from the PUC, the total is now $1.67 million.
A few reimbursements date back to 2016-2018, when law enforcement agencies were already getting trained to respond to Line 3 opposition.
Enbridge funds the Line 3 Public Safety Escrow Account. Law enforcement units submit invoices for reimbursement.
In addition, Enbridge has paid $237,000 to police and nonprofit organizations for human trafficking stings and services to victims of human trafficking. The final decision to pay or not to pay is made by a third-party independent manager.
Charts below break down the spending.
As we reported earlier, the Cass County Sheriff’s Office has received the most money of any single entity from Enbridge’s Public Safety Escrow Account. Much of this money appears to be for proactive patrols of Line 3 worksites.
The Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office submitted a number of smaller reimbursement requests, revealing more about its requests. The invoices included Mobile Field Force Training that date back to May 31, 2016. So far, the Beltrami County Sheriff received the most money ($107,000 or 58 percent of the total) for equipment. It received $40,800, or 22 percent of the total, for training.
The Bemidji Police Department so far has received $100,000 in reimbursements. Much of it, $69,000, paid for equipment and training.
The Line 3 Public Safety Escrow Account money has been spread far and wide in Minnesota. Here is a list of each agency which has received at least $10,000 in total reimbursements so far.
Here’s the list of agencies that received reimbursements from the escrow account for work to stop human trafficking and support victims. The smaller amounts of money paid to law enforcement agencies reimbursed staff time on Line 3 as part of the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s Human Trafficking Investigative Task Force.
The larger grants went to nonprofit organizations serving victims of human trafficking, with the intention that the money be spent on victims of Line 3 workers.
The Link was the most recent recipient, getting nearly $37,000. The Link is a youth- and adult-led nonprofit that provides crisis intervention for youth and young families facing a wide range of challenges, including those experiencing sex trafficking. The grant funds a part-time victim support specialist and money for victim support.
According to its grant application:
The Link’s Victim Support Specialist will be able to provide critical support services and advocacy to youth identified through trafficking operations along the Line 3 Replacement Project. Funds will help ensure the Victim Support Specialist can provide crisis assistance to trafficking victims with a nexus to Line 3 as soon as they are identified by law enforcement taskforce operations.
There’s been very little transparency around the extent to which Line 3 construction, and its large influx of temporary workers, has increased sex trafficking in northern Minnesota. It’s significant to learn that law enforcement does know and could shed some light on the extent of the problem if it chose to do so.
This is part of a larger Line 3 theme: A lack of transparency and accountability.