Enbridge itself does not support a bill that would have allowed it to build a new pipeline without approval from public utility regulators.
A state Senate committee on Thursday — without knowing Enbridge's position — narrowly rejected the bill, which would have allowed the Canadian company to build its "Line 3" replacement across northern Minnesota without final approval from the Public Utilities Commission.
The bill, authored by Sen. David Osmek, R-Mound, would have terminated the regulatory process, without a "certificate of need" or a route permit. The Senate Energy and Utilities Finance Policy Committee, which Osmek chairs, voted 5-4 against the bill, with Sen. Michael Goggin, R-Red Wing, joining four DFL senators in opposition. The yes votes were all from Republicans.
A similar bill passed a House committee last month. Gov. Mark Dayton has said he would veto any such legislation.
And Enbridge, which hasn't been present at either the House or Senate hearings, told the Star Tribune Thursday that it didn't request the legislation, doesn't support it — and has said so to the governor's office.
"We continue to believe it's important to follow the process," the company said in an e-mail.
Enbridge's new Line 3 proposal has been winding its way through the Minnesota regulatory process for three years, and is now in the home stretch. A final decision by the PUC is expected in late June.
"I am not willing to wait any longer for any roadblocks," Osmek told the committee. "We have got to get this done."
Sen. John Marty, DFL-Roseville, said the proposed legislation would allow a pipeline company, "at it's sole discretion, to do whatever it wants."
Calgary, Alberta-based Enbridge wants to build a $2.6 billion new pipeline across northern Minnesota to replace its current Line 3, a 1960s-vintage pipeline that is corroding.
Line 3, one of six Enbridge pipelines that carry oil from Canada to Superior, Wis., operates at only 51 percent of its capacity due to safety concerns.