PALISADE, Minn. (AP) — More than 4,000 workers are expected in northern Minnesota over the next couple weeks to build the contentious Line 3 oil-pipeline replacement.
Opponents of the pipeline have escalated their efforts to block construction, while local law enforcement is meant to keep the peace.
Construction has ramped up quickly on Line 3 since Enbridge Energy received its final state and federal permits late last month. So too have the protests of activists determined to stop work on the pipeline, at least until legal challenges can be heard in court, Minnesota Public Radio News reports.
In Aitkin County, just north of the tiny town of Palisade, construction workers are clearing a wide path through the forest near the Mississippi River to make way for the new pipeline.
Aitkin County Sheriff Dan Guida said he respects the passion that both sides bring to the project.
“We want the people here to be safe. We want the people to be heard, we want to support their First Amendment (rights), we want to support their freedom of speech, we want to support all that,” Guida said.
Line 3 begins in Alberta, Canada, and clips a corner of North Dakota before crossing Minnesota on its way to Enbridge’s terminal in the city of Superior. The replacement segments in Canada, North Dakota and Wisconsin are already complete, leaving only the 337-mile stretch in Minnesota.