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HF 2954

1st Committee Engrossment - 86th Legislature (2009 - 2010) Posted on 03/19/2013 07:29pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
1.1A bill for an act
1.2relating to natural resources; providing for general burning permits; modifying
1.3authority to establish forestry services fees; modifying the forest management
1.4lease pilot project; modifying timber sales provisions; eliminating certain
1.5pilot projects and reports;amending Minnesota Statutes 2008, sections 88.17,
1.6subdivisions 1, 3; 88.79, subdivision 2; 90.041, by adding a subdivision;
1.790.121; 90.14; Minnesota Statutes 2009 Supplement, section 88.795; repealing
1.8Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 90.172.

1.10    Section 1. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 88.17, subdivision 1, is amended to read:
1.11    Subdivision 1. Permit Permission required. (a) A permit Permission to start a fire
1.12to burn vegetative materials and other materials allowed by Minnesota Statutes or official
1.13state rules and regulations may be given by the commissioner or the commissioner's agent.
1.14This permission shall be in the form of:
1.15(1) a written permit issued by a forest officer, fire warden, or other person authorized
1.16by the commissioner; or
1.17(2) an electronic permit issued by the commissioner, an agent authorized by the
1.18commissioner, or an Internet site authorized by the commissioner.; or
1.19(3) a general permit adopted by the county board of commissioners according to
1.20paragraph (c).
1.21(b) Written and electronic burning permits shall set the time and conditions by which
1.22the fire may be started and burned. The permit shall also specifically list the materials that
1.23may be burned. The permittee must have the permit on their person and shall produce
1.24the permit for inspection when requested to do so by a forest officer, conservation officer,
1.25or other peace officer. The permittee shall remain with the fire at all times and before
1.26leaving the site shall completely extinguish the fire. A person shall not start or cause a
2.1fire to be started on any land that is not owned or under their legal control without the
2.2written permission of the owner, lessee, or an agent of the owner or lessee of the land.
2.3Violating or exceeding the permit conditions shall constitute a misdemeanor and shall be
2.4cause for the permit to be revoked.
2.5(c) A general burning permit may be adopted by the county board of commissioners
2.6in counties that are determined by the commissioner either to not be wildfire areas as
2.7defined in section 88.01, subdivision 6, or to otherwise have low potential for damage
2.8to life and property from wildfire. The commissioner shall consider the history of and
2.9potential for wildfire; the distribution of trees, brush, grasslands, and other vegetative
2.10material; and the distribution of property subject to damage from escaped fires. Upon a
2.11determination by the commissioner and adoption by a vote of the county board, permission
2.12for open burning is extended to all residents in the county without the need for individual
2.13written or electronic permits, provided burning conforms to all other provisions of this
2.14chapter, including those related to responsibility to control and extinguish fires, no burning
2.15of prohibited materials, and liability for damages caused by violations of this chapter.
2.16(d) Upon adoption of a general burning permit, a county must establish specific
2.17regulations by ordinance, to include at a minimum the time when and conditions under
2.18which fires may be started and burned. No ordinance may be less restrictive than state law.
2.19(e) At any time when the commissioner or the county board determines that a general
2.20burning permit is no longer in the public interest, the general permit may be canceled by
2.21mutual agreement of the commissioner and the county board.

2.22    Sec. 2. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 88.17, subdivision 3, is amended to read:
2.23    Subd. 3. Special permits. The following special permits are required at all times,
2.24including when the ground is snow-covered:
2.25(a) Fire training. A permit to start a fire for the instruction and training of
2.26firefighters, including liquid fuels training, may be given by the commissioner or agent of
2.27the commissioner. Except for owners or operators conducting fire training in specialized
2.28industrial settings pursuant to applicable federal, state, or local standards, owners
2.29or operators conducting open burning for the purpose of instruction and training of
2.30firefighters with regard to structures must follow the techniques described in a document
2.31entitled: Structural Burn Training Procedures for the Minnesota Technical College System.
2.32(b) Permanent tree and brush open burning sites. A permit for the operation of
2.33a permanent tree and brush burning site may be given by the commissioner or agent of
2.34the commissioner. Applicants for a permanent open burning site permit shall submit a
2.35complete application on a form provided by the commissioner. Existing permanent tree
3.1and brush open burning sites must submit for a permit within 90 days of the passage of
3.2this statute for a burning permit. New site applications must be submitted at least 90
3.3days before the date of the proposed operation of the permanent open burning site. The
3.4application must be submitted to the commissioner and must contain:
3.5(1) the name, address, and telephone number of all owners of the site proposed for
3.6use as the permanent open burning site;
3.7(2) if the operator for the proposed permanent open burning site is different from the
3.8owner, the name, address, and telephone number of the operator;
3.9(3) a general description of the materials to be burned, including the source and
3.10estimated quantity, dimensions of the site and burn pile areas, hours and dates of operation,
3.11and provisions for smoke management; and
3.12(4) a topographic or similarly detailed map of the site and surrounding area within
3.13a one mile circumference showing all structures that might be affected by the operation
3.14of the site.
3.15Only trees, tree trimmings, or brush that cannot be disposed of by an alternative
3.16method such as chipping, composting, or other method shall be permitted to be burned
3.17at a permanent open burning site. A permanent tree and brush open burning site must
3.18be located and operated so as not to create a nuisance or endanger water quality. The
3.19commissioner shall revoke the permit or order actions to mitigate threats to public health,
3.20safety, and the environment in the event that permit conditions are violated.

3.21    Sec. 3. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 88.79, subdivision 2, is amended to read:
3.22    Subd. 2. Charge for service; receipts to special revenue fund. Notwithstanding
3.23section 16A.1283, the commissioner of natural resources may charge the owner, by written
3.24order published in the State Register, establish fees the commissioner determines to be
3.25fair and reasonable that are charged to owners receiving such services such sums as the
3.26commissioner shall determine to be fair and reasonable under subdivision 1. The charges
3.27must account for differences in the value of timber and other benefits. The receipts from
3.28such services shall be credited to the special revenue fund and are annually appropriated to
3.29the commissioner for the purposes specified in subdivision 1.

3.30    Sec. 4. Minnesota Statutes 2009 Supplement, section 88.795, is amended to read:
3.32(a) Notwithstanding the permit procedures of chapter 90, the commissioner of
3.33natural resources may lease up to 10,000 acres of state-owned forest lands for forest
4.1management purposes for a term not to exceed 21 years. No person or entity may lease
4.2more than 3,000 20,000 acres. The lease shall provide:
4.3(1) that the lessee must comply with timber harvesting and forest management
4.4guidelines developed under section 89A.05 and landscape-level plans under section
4.589A.06 that have been adopted by the Minnesota Forest Resources Council, and in effect
4.6at the time of any management activity; and
4.7(2) for public access for hunting, fishing, and motorized and nonmotorized recreation
4.8to the leased land that is the same as would be available under state management.
4.9(b) For the purposes of this section, the term "state-owned forest lands" may include
4.10school trust lands as defined in section 92.025 or university land granted to the state by
4.11Acts of Congress.
4.12(c) By December 15, 2009, the commissioner of natural resources shall provide a
4.13report to the house of representatives and senate natural resources policy and finance
4.14committees and divisions on the pilot project. The report will detail a plan for the
4.15implementation of the pilot project with a starting date that is no later than July 1, 2010.
4.16(d) Upon implementation of the pilot project, the commissioner shall provide an
4.17annual report to the house of representatives and senate natural resources policy and
4.18finance committees and divisions on the progress of the project, including the acres leased,
4.19a breakdown of the types of forest land, and amounts harvested by species. The report
4.20shall include a net revenue analysis comparing the lease revenue with the estimated net
4.21revenue that would be obtained through state management and silvicultural practices cost
4.22savings the state realizes through leasing.
4.23(e) Nothing in this section supersedes the duties of the commissioner of natural
4.24resources to properly manage forest lands under the authority of the commissioner, as
4.25defined in section 89.001, subdivision 13.

4.26    Sec. 5. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 90.041, is amended by adding a subdivision
4.27to read:
4.28    Subd. 9. Reoffering unsold timber. To maintain and enhance forest ecosystems on
4.29state forest lands, the commissioner may reoffer timber tracts remaining unsold under the
4.30provisions of section 90.101 below appraised value at public auction with the required
4.3130-day notice under section 90.101, subdivision 2.

4.32    Sec. 6. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 90.121, is amended to read:
5.1(a) The commissioner may sell the timber on any tract of state land in lots not
5.2exceeding 3,000 cords in volume, in the same manner as timber sold at public auction
5.3under section 90.101, and related laws, subject to the following special exceptions and
5.5(1) the commissioner shall offer all tracts authorized for sale by this section
5.6separately from the sale of tracts of state timber made pursuant to section 90.101;
5.7(2) no bidder may be awarded more than 25 percent of the total tracts offered at the
5.8first round of bidding unless fewer than four tracts are offered, in which case not more
5.9than one tract shall be awarded to one bidder. Any tract not sold at public auction may be
5.10offered for private sale as authorized by section 90.101, subdivision 1, to persons eligible
5.11under this section at the appraised value; and
5.12(3) no sale may be made to a person having more than 20 30 employees. For the
5.13purposes of this clause, "employee" means an individual working as a logger for salary or
5.14wages on a full-time or part-time basis.
5.15(b) The auction sale procedure set forth in this section constitutes an additional
5.16alternative timber sale procedure available to the commissioner and is not intended to
5.17replace other authority possessed by the commissioner to sell timber in lots of 3,000
5.18cords or less.
5.19(c) Another bidder or the commissioner may request that the number of employees a
5.20bidder has pursuant to paragraph (a), clause (3), be confirmed if there is evidence that the
5.21bidder may be ineligible due to exceeding the employee threshold. The commissioner
5.22shall request information from the commissioner of labor and industry including the
5.23premiums paid by the bidder in question for workers' compensation insurance coverage
5.24for all employees of the bidder. The commissioner shall review the information submitted
5.25by the commissioner of labor and industry and make a determination based on the
5.26information as to whether the bidder is eligible.

5.27    Sec. 7. Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 90.14, is amended to read:
5.29(a) All state timber shall be offered and sold by the same unit of measurement as it
5.30was appraised. No tract shall be sold to any person other than the purchaser in whose name
5.31the bid was made. The commissioner may refuse to approve any and all bids received and
5.32cancel a sale of state timber for good and sufficient reasons.
5.33(b) The purchaser at any sale of timber shall, immediately upon the approval of the
5.34bid, or, if unsold at public auction, at the time of purchase at a subsequent sale under
5.35section 90.101, subdivision 1, pay to the commissioner a down payment of 15 percent
6.1of the appraised value. In case any purchaser fails to make such payment, the purchaser
6.2shall be liable therefor to the state in a civil action, and the commissioner may reoffer the
6.3timber for sale as though no bid or sale under section 90.101, subdivision 1, therefor
6.4had been made.
6.5(c) In lieu of the scaling of state timber required by this chapter, a purchaser of
6.6state timber may, at the time of payment by the purchaser to the commissioner of 15
6.7percent of the appraised value, elect in writing on a form prescribed by the attorney
6.8general to purchase a permit based solely on the appraiser's estimate of the volume of
6.9timber described in the permit, provided that the commissioner has expressly designated
6.10the availability of such option for that tract on the list of tracts available for sale as
6.11required under section 90.101. A purchaser who elects in writing on a form prescribed
6.12by the attorney general to purchase a permit based solely on the appraiser's estimate of
6.13the volume of timber described on the permit does not have recourse to the provisions
6.14of section 90.281.
6.15(d) In the case of a public auction sale conducted by a sealed bid process, tracts shall
6.16be awarded to the high bidder, who shall pay to the commissioner a down payment of 15
6.17percent of the appraised value within ten business days of receiving a written award
6.18notice that must be received or postmarked within 14 days of the date of the sealed bid
6.19opening. If a purchaser fails to make the down payment, the purchaser is liable for the
6.20down payment to the state and the commissioner may offer the timber for sale to the next
6.21highest bidder as though no higher bid had been made.
6.22(e) Except as otherwise provided by law, at the time the purchaser signs a permit
6.23issued under section 90.151, the commissioner shall require the purchaser shall to make
6.24a bid guarantee payment to the commissioner in an amount equal to 15 percent of the
6.25total purchase price of the permit less the down payment amount required by paragraph
6.26(b) for any bid increase in excess of $5,000 of the appraised value. If the a required bid
6.27guarantee payment is not submitted with the signed permit, no harvesting may occur, the
6.28permit cancels, and the down payment for timber forfeits to the state. The bid guarantee
6.29payment forfeits to the state if the purchaser and successors in interest fail to execute
6.30an effective permit.

6.31    Sec. 8. REPEALER.
6.32Minnesota Statutes 2008, section 90.172, is repealed.