ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Republican lawmakers have approved an amendment that would let Enbridge Energy bypass the Public Utilities Commission and build a replacement for its aging Line 3 oil pipeline.
It passed largely along party lines Thursday by a vote of 75-57. Republican Rep. Pat Garofalo of Farmington amended his jobs and energy bill to allow Enbridge to pursue the $7.5 billion project without further PUC approvals.
Southside Drummers fill State Capitol Rotunda with sound, at entrance to MN House Chamber as decision on Jobs & Energy bill looms pic.twitter.com/NezaTXIX08— John Croman (@JohnCroman) April 6, 2017
Native American protesters line the entrance to MN House Chamber to protest bill that eases regulation for Enbridge 3 pipeline pic.twitter.com/eInd0YdfOG— John Croman (@JohnCroman) April 6, 2017
Opponents say the provision would make it difficult for tribal groups and environmentalists to fight the pipeline. They object to the project because the pipeline would run from Alberta through environmentally sensitive areas of northern Minnesota to Superior, Wisconsin.
Gov. Mark Dayton says the regulators are an important safeguard for Minnesota communities. He says he is against "any attempts to weaken, bypass, or influence the PUC."