Line 3’s approved route crosses approximately 41 miles of public/municipal land in Cass, Crow Wing, and Aitkin counties, according to the state’s Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). Most of this land is state forest land administered by Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR). More than 10 percent of Line 3’s route crosses public lands.
These areas can be more difficult for Watch the Line monitors to access. State forest roads aren’t maintained (and were difficult to drive in winter conditions.) Also, there are fewer roads, which can make drives between observation points longer.
Line 3 construction would occur on land within seven state forests, “resulting in loss and alteration of forest habitat as well as fragmentation of forest,” according to the EIS. (Line 3 crosses an eighth state forest, but only minimally.)
The EIS said Line 3 construction, including storage yards, access roads, etc. would damage:
- 156 acres in Land O Lakes State Forest
- 109 acres in Huntersville State Forest
- 108 acres in Hill River State Forest
- 54 acres in Foothills State Forest
- 29 acres in the Mississippi Headwaters State Forest
- 16 acres in Waukenabo State Forest
- 9 acres in Savanna State Forest
Construction also would damage nearly 51 acres of the McGregor Important Bird Area.
Here’s the acreage of state Wildlife Management Areas (WMAs) that are within a half mile of Line 3’s proposed centerline:
- 820 acres of Grayling Marsh WMA
- 202 acres of Salo Marsh WMA
- 198 acres (or 84 percent of the total) of the Lawler WMA
- 152 acres (or nearly 25 percent of the total) of the Mcgregor WMA
- 58 acres (or more than one-third of the total) of the Lowe WMA
- 4 acres of the Mud Lake WMA
Construction impacts extend beyond the immediate construction area, as they fragment wetlands and the local ecology.
These numbers show the degree to which Line 3’s construction affects public lands which Minnesotans hold very dear. Its operation, and the threat of future spills, pose an even greater threat.