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Enbridge personnel ask for Wadena County Board support

John Feely and Julie Huber of Enbridge appeared at Tuesday's Wadena County Board meeting to supply information and answer questions from the commissioners had concerning the Line 3 replacement project. A replacement line would skirt the northeastern corner of Wadena County. Huber asked for a resolution of support from the board. Brian Hansel/Pioneer Journal

Julie Huber of Oil Transportation Giant Enbridge asked the Wadena County Commissioners for their support in the Line 3 replacement project which is currently undergoing intensive scrutiny by environmentalists.

Line 3 in a 1,097-mile pipeline currently carrying light crude oil from Edmonton, Alberta to Superior, Wis.

The line was built in the 1960s. A replacement pipeline, if approved, would dance along the northeastern border of Wadena County under the Shell and Crow Wing Rivers and through Shell River and Huntersville Townships. The current pipeline runs through Hubbard County before dipping into Cass County.

Huber, a Public Affairs Consultant for Enbridge, was joined by Line 3 Project manager John Feely.

After outlining the reasons for the project and the new route through Wadena County, Huber asked for the board's support.

"The question Enbridge would have for you as a board would be if you willing to pass a resolution of support for the project?" Huber asked.

The board gave general consent to the resolution but Huber was asked for sample resolutions from other boards which she said she could supply. The board took no other action.

Commissioner Sheldon Monson asked if Line 3 would alleviate some of the rail traffic through Wadena which transports oil from the Bakken Oilfield in western North Dakota. Huber asked Feely for backup with the question.

"We have seven lines north of Clearbrook and we have a few coming from the Bakken Oilfield," Feely said. "Line 3 itself won't carry that crude but it takes pressure off other areas and opens up our system so we can get more total volume through this should ease some of the rail traffic on that line."

Wadena Commissioner Bill Stearns also had a question for Feely.

The crude oil coming from Canada is high sulfur, high-polluting the worst grade of crude oil you can find oil in the world, right?" Stearns asked. "It's good for making asphalt for roads but outside of that."

Feely said the oil in from the heavy tar sands of Canada.

"That is one of the primary uses of it is the asphalt but there are other byproducts of it as well," Feely answered.

Huber said she did not expect any approval of the pipeline until the spring of 2018.

West Central Economic Development Alliance Director Mark Hanson gave the report on various projects underway in Wadena County. One of the projects is rack cards which allows Smart Phone and Desktop users to take a digital tour of Wadena County as well as a business directory.

Hanson said the city of Sebeka has recruited Broadway Welding out of Detroit Lakes, a subcontractor of Ice Castle Fish Houses. Broadway Welding is the manufacturer of the actual base trailer for the units according to Hanson. Five employees are in place now with 15 to 20 more expected to join them by the end of the year - many from Menahga and New York Mills.

Hanson said North Country Motorsports has moved into Menahga selling cars, trucks and ATVs.

Addressing WCEDA's work on providing a different type of child care center in the county, Hanson told the board he is working with Mahube-Otwa Community Action.

" Hanson said Mahube-Otwa would be the licenser of the program if it takes off and it has caught the interest of a large employer in Wadena who would have its own child care center with Mahube-Otwa as an operator.

"It's all about recruiting of employees," Hanson said. "If you have in-house childcare then you do a better job of recruiting employees."

In other action the board approved:

• A $300,000 transfer from the Levy Fund to the Non-Levy Fund.

• A 2018 Toward Zero Deaths Enforcement Grant of $38,750 for safety projects.

• A 2017 Emergency Management Performance Grant of $16,445.

• A Child Protection Donation Checking Account for Human Services at Wadena State Bank.

• Thinning Projects of trees at the Old Wadena and McGivern Park properties.