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Contractor at Enbridge Line 3 pipeline site dies in accident

An Enbridge representative said work in the area was briefly halted, but resumed the next day.
Credit: AP
FILE - In this June 29, 2018 file photo, pipeline used to carry crude oil lays at the Superior terminal of Enbridge Energy in Superior, Wis. (AP Photo/Jim Mone, File)

HILL CITY, Minn. — A contractor working on the Enbridge Energy Line 3 pipeline project has died in a fatal accident. 

Enbridge Energy spokeswoman Juli Kellner says the accident happened Friday at a construction yard in Hill City. Kellner said work in the area was stopped on Friday, but resumed Saturday. 

Few other details were released and Kellner said no more information would be shared while the investigation continues. 

According to the Associated Press, nearly 4,000 workers are expected in northern Minnesota in the next few weeks for the oil pipeline replacement. Enbridge obtained its remaining permits for the construction in late November, and construction began quickly. 

The pipeline replacement project has been in the works for several years, drawing criticism from climate and indigenous activists. 

Opponents argue that the Canadian tar sands oil the replacement pipeline would carry aggravates climate change. They also argue that spills could endanger sensitive waters and wetlands in the Mississippi River headwaters region, where Native Americans harvest wild rice and claim treaty rights.  

After one of the remaining few permits was granted last month, Minnesota climate justice group MN350 criticized the decision.

“This is a deeply unpopular pipeline that is a disaster for our climate, and it will be fought every step of the way," one of the group's coordinators, Andy Pearson, wrote in a statement. 

Minnesota House Minority Leader Kurt Daudt, however, was one of the state lawmakers to praise the decision on economic grounds: "These permits bring us one step closer to finally replacing the aging Line 3 pipeline after years of frivolous lawsuits and delays. We’re thrilled for the northern Minnesota communities and families who will see strong paychecks and robust investment once construction finally begins," he wrote. 

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