Tribe receives 2nd payment from Enbridge
By Joe Morey
At its Nov. 19 meeting, the LCO Tribal Governing Board received the second payment from Enbridge Energy Partners, LLC, in the amount of $3.3 million.
LCO Secretary-Treasurer Jason Weaver said these annual payments and long-term relationship with Enbridge is very beneficial for the tribe well into the future.
LCO Chairman Louis Taylor said the annual payments will provide much-needed financial security for the tribe.
“This isn’t about today,” Taylor said. “This is about our kids and 25 years from now.”
Trent Wetmore, Director of Operations for Enbridge’s Superior Region, said in an earlier statement to the tribal membership that the current deal with LCO, “Is a beginning and commits us to provide a significant compensation to LCO. Your land is your most important resource. We will respect it and we should compensate you well when we are given the right to use it. I am thankful and honored that we were able to reach the agreement we did. But I am especially thankful that we were also able to agree on how we will work together moving forward.
“Already, we are working together to provide project management assistance and training to members on important infrastructure projects like the wastewater treatment plant. This experience will build capacity to undertake additional major projects, such as renewable energy and other infrastructure projects that you have made clear are important to the Tribe.
Wetmore also said, “We are supporting LCO Development Corporation and other tribally-owned businesses to help them get pre-qualified to meet Enbridge contractor requirements. We want those businesses to work on our projects. We want to contribute to the Band’s economic development and good things are happening.”
Wetmore told the governing board that LCO Development is currently in the pool to work on Enbridge projects. He said Enbridge could use LCO Development trucks with Minnesota drivers to work on Line 3. Currently, LCO drivers need to be re-certified in Minnesota, he indicated.
Wetmore said there are some digs coming up and they are going to need security. He said Enbridge has worked with LCO Tribal Member and contractor, Mark Turner, and that they would be reaching out to him again. Turner reaches out to the tribe to hire tribal members from LCO first.
Chairman Louis Taylor said, “We really appreciate this gift today. Going into the winter months, this will help our tribe in many areas.”