In a case of "nevermind," a Senate committee Tuesday reversed itself and passed a bill that would allow Enbridge to build its controversial Line 3 oil pipeline across northern Minnesota without approval from public utility regulators.
The Senate Energy and Utilities Finance and Policy Committee voted 6-4 along party lines for a bill that would terminate the regulatory process for the pipeline before the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission makes its final decision, which is expected in June.
Last week, the committee rejected the same bill by a 5-4 vote when Sen. Michael Goggin, R-Red Wing, sided with four DFL senators instead of the four Republicans who voted for it. On Tuesday, Goggin changed his vote after Sen. Julie Rosen, R-Vernon Center, made a motion to reconsider the legislation. Rosen, who was absent for last week's vote, also voted for the bill.
Similar legislation has passed a House committee, but Gov. Mark Dayton has threatened to veto it and even Enbridge has questioned the need for it. The company last week told the Star Tribune that it doesn't support the legislation and did not request it.
Enbridge, based in Calgary, Alberta, wants to build a new $2.6 billion pipeline to ferry Canadian oil to its terminal in Superior, Wis. The new pipeline would replace Enbridge's current Line 3, which is aging, corroding and can only be run at 51 percent capacity.