What you should know: The Public Safety Escrow Account and community reimbursement

The Public Safety Escrow Account was required as a condition for the Line 3 Replacement Project to receive its route permit from the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission. Commissioners voiced concerns that small communities in northern Minnesota would be overwhelmed by public safety costs, especially in response to protest activity. They required Enbridge to fund a Public Safety Escrow Account for the reimbursement of local communities for associated costs such as overtime.

How does a community or police department receive funds from this account?

To receive payment from the Public Safety Escrow Account, Local Government Units (LGUs) submit written, itemized requests to the independent Public Safety Escrow Account Manager—not Enbridge—who was appointed by the Minnesota PUC. The Manager makes the determination on eligible expenses—not Enbridge.

Did Enbridge direct local police departments to arrest protesters?

No. Community police and sheriff deputies are responsible for public safety. Officers decide when protestors are breaking the law—or putting themselves and others in danger.

Security workers on Line 3 called police for help when protesters trespassed on property or active worksites, occupied or damaged equipment, or put themselves or others in danger by their actions.

Did the PUC set up this escrow account without additional approvals/oversight from the State of Minnesota?

No. This is answered best in a Sept. 1, 2021 letter from the State of Minnesota. “On June 29th, 2021 the Minnesota Legislature passed the public safety omnibus bill allowing public safety costs associated with the L3RP to be reimbursed from an account funded by Enbridge, rather than having those expenses paid by taxpayers. The legislation is explicit that these funds may be used only for reimbursing state agencies for officers’ salaries and for personal protective equipment. It may not be used for equipment such as tear gas, rubber bullets, extrication equipment, etc. This legislation does not in any way incentivize a particular policing strategy such as increased arrests or patrols. It simply sets up a funding mechanism for reimbursement.”

Protesters are being arrested while peacefully and legally protesting—correct?

No. While some protests have been legal and peaceful, others have been illegal as well as highly dangerous for workers, first responders, and the protesters themselves. These have drained local resources and disrupted local communities. 

The Fond du Lac Band of Lake Superior Chippewa censured protesters in response to a bomb threat over the winter—read more about that here.

Read the June 10, 2021 Minneapolis Star Tribune news article that documents concerns of Indigenous contractors about protesters as they work on Line 3.

See damage from a protest over this summer at the Two Inlets pump station (password is media).

Read what LiUNA has to say about how protests have affected their workers.