Protecting Tribal cultural resources

Respecting Tribal sovereignty and treaty rights

We’ve worked closely with Tribes to make certain their communities benefit and their resources are protected as we build the Line 3 replacement.

Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project is currently being built under the supervision of Tribal construction monitors—Tribal citizens who have the authority to stop construction, and ensure that important cultural resources are protected.

In the event that Tribally significant cultural resources are identified during construction, the Tribal construction monitors assess each location and independently make recommendations regarding their ongoing protection and treatment to federal and state agencies, as well as the consulting Tribal nations.

L3R Tribal Cultural Resources Survey: The first of its kind

Preparations for Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project included a first-of-its kind Tribal Cultural Resource Survey led by the Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, who managed review of the 337-mile-route through the 1855, 1837, and 1863-64 treaty areas.

Fond du Lac employed Tribal cultural experts who walked the full route, identifying and recording significant cultural resources to be avoided.

The Line 3 TCR survey included members from eight Tribal Nations including Red Lake, Leech Lake, Mille Lacs, Fond du Lac, Red Cliff and Turtle Mountain, all of which are Ojibwe. The survey team looked at every water body and wetland crossing thoroughly to evaluate the presence of cultural resources.

As a result of the survey, areas in this vicinity were found to be significant—which Enbridge elected to avoid and treat ESA 20.0 as a Sensitive Area, as requested by the survey’s findings, even though agency review (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Minnesota State Historic Preservation Office) considered the site to be Not Eligible to the National Register.

The Tribal monitoring team on our Line 3 Replacement Project has flagged areas for avoidance and caution, and is monitoring those areas as culturally and environmentally sensitive.

Staff from 30 Tribes participated in the consultation and were given opportunities to provide input on the findings, L3R route changes and mitigations.

Ultimately, the L3R TCR survey represented the largest Tribal cultural resources survey ever attempted in the energy industry.

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Indigenous inclusion and respect

As part of the Line 3 replacement, Enbridge originally made a $100-million commitment to Tribal affiliation work opportunities in Minnesota. Additionally, we reached out to all 11 Minnesota Tribes to discuss business and training opportunities, identified Native American-owned businesses for contractors to use, and co-hosted or supported multiple training programs and job fairs for Tribal members.

Even before the construction phase of the Line 3 replacement began in December 2020, Enbridge had spent more than $165 million on training and employment of Native Americans and contracting with Native owned businesses. Contractors to date include Red Lake Builders and EW&C.

L3R rerouting: Demonstrating respect

As part of our planning work for the Line 3 replacement, Enbridge has consistently demonstrated respect for Native American Tribes in Minnesota.

From the start, we’ve respected the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe’s wishes to route the pipeline around its reservation, and we have an agreement on the deactivation and removal of Line 3 through Leech Lake land.

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa was willing to allow the replacement pipeline to cross its reservation. We are also working with the Fond du Lac Band on the replacement of a segment of Line 4 across the reservation that will rectify a section of exposed pipe and allow for restoration of surface-water hydrology conditions that existed prior to the installation.