The controversial Enbridge Line 3 Public Safety Escrow account paid out more than $8.5 million, most of it to law enforcement to provide protection and what amounts to private security for its pipeline. That number is up from the nearly $7.2 million we reported in March.
The Minnesota Public Utilities Commission approved this outlandish system that allowed law enforcement agencies to bill Enbridge for any Line 3-related costs. Line 3 critics felt the system biased law enforcement in favor of Enbridge.
Law enforcement agencies could bill for routine patrols of Enbridge work sites even if there was no protests going on, or even people present. Law enforcement fell hard on Native American water protectors.
The Enbridge-funded escrow account had an independent manager. Law enforcement agencies had an April 1 deadline to submit reimbursement requests to the escrow account (six month after Line 3 became operational).
Some of the payments made in the last slew of requests were:
Hubbard County Sheriff’s Office: Reimbursed $485,347 (March 14, 17, and 18) for security patrols, arrestee transport, detention officer wagers for processing arrestees, meals for protest responses, mutual aid responses, and more. That brings its total escrow account payments to $528,456.
Aitkin County Sheriff’s Office: Reimbursed $355,394 (March 1) for wages, personal protective equipment, (cold weather gear, insect repellent, sunscreen, and ear/eye protection), and lodging, food, facility and equipment rental. That was its only reimbursement payment.
Carlton County Sheriff’s Office: Reimbursed $144,261 (March 28) for security patrols, mutual aid responses, training, emergency management, and planning. It was its only reimbursement payment.
Others filing for reimbursements just before the deadline included the Becker County Sheriff’s Office, $78,637, and the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, $75,504. (In all, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office received $139,219 in escrow payments.)
The single largest recipient of Enbridge’s largess was the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) — which was supposed to be regulating and overseeing Line 3’s construction. The DNR received nearly $2.2 million in escrow payments for its conservation officers’ response to Line 3 resistance.
The Minnesota Department of Public Safety received $1.5 million from the account.