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SF 2711

as introduced - 89th Legislature (2015 - 2016) Posted on 03/24/2016 12:44pm

KEY: stricken = removed, old language.
underscored = added, new language.
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A bill for an act
relating to environment; establishing a working lands watershed restoration
program to incentivize the growth of perennial crops; appropriating money;
proposing coding for new law in Minnesota Statutes, chapter 103F.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA:

Section 1.

new text begin [103F.519] WORKING LANDS WATERSHED RESTORATION
PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin Subdivision 1. new text end

new text begin Definitions. new text end

new text begin (a) For purposes of this section, the following terms
have the meanings given.
new text end

new text begin (b) "Advanced biofuel" has the meaning given in section 239.051, subdivision 1a.
new text end

new text begin (c) "Agricultural use" has the meaning given in section 17.81, subdivision 4.
new text end

new text begin (d) "Biomass processing facility" means a facility producing electricity, advanced
biofuel, renewable chemical, or biomass thermal energy from perennial crops.
new text end

new text begin (e) "Biomass thermal energy" means energy generated from biomass for commercial
heat or industrial process heat.
new text end

new text begin (f) "Board" means the Board of Water and Soil Resources.
new text end

new text begin (g) "Perennial crops" has the meaning given in section 41A.15, subdivision 9.
new text end

new text begin (h) "Renewable chemical" has the meaning given in section 41A.15, subdivision 10.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 2. new text end

new text begin Establishment. new text end

new text begin The board shall administer a program to incentivize
the establishment and maintenance of perennial crops. The board shall contract with
landowners and give priority to contracts that implement water protection actions as
identified in a completed watershed restoration and protection strategy developed under
section 114D.26.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 3. new text end

new text begin Eligible land. new text end

new text begin Land eligible under this section must:
new text end

new text begin (1) have been in agricultural use for annual crop production or have been set aside,
enrolled, or diverted under another federal or state government program for at least two
of the last five years before the date of application; and
new text end

new text begin (2) not be currently set aside, enrolled, or diverted under another federal or state
government program.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 4. new text end

new text begin Contract terms; use as livestock feed. new text end

new text begin (a) The board shall offer a contract
rate of no more than 90 percent of the most recent federal conservation reserve program
payment for the county in which the land is located. The board may make additional
payments to assist with the establishment of perennial crops.
new text end

new text begin (b) Contracts must be at least ten years in duration.
new text end

new text begin (c) Perennial crops grown on land enrolled under this section may be used by a
biomass processing facility or for livestock feed. Perennial crops may be processed in a
manner that utilizes a portion of the plant for livestock.
new text end

new text begin (d) The board shall prioritize land with the highest potential to leverage federal
funding.
new text end

new text begin (e) The board may establish additional contract terms.
new text end

new text begin Subd. 5. new text end

new text begin Pilot watershed selection. new text end

new text begin The board may select up to two watersheds in
which to conduct an initial pilot program of up to 100,000 total acres. Project watersheds
must have, as determined by the board:
new text end

new text begin (1) a completed watershed restoration and protection strategy developed under
section 114D.26, or a hydrological simulation program model approved by the Pollution
Control Agency;
new text end

new text begin (2) multiple water quality impairments;
new text end

new text begin (3) access to a viable proposed biomass processing facility for the perennial crops
grown under this section; and
new text end

new text begin (4) sufficient acres of cropland available for perennial crop production to adequately
supply the proposed biomass processing facility.
new text end

Sec. 2. new text beginFEASIBILITY STUDY AND PROGRAM PLAN; WORKING LANDS
WATERSHED RESTORATION PROGRAM.
new text end

new text begin (a) The Board of Water and Soil Resources shall develop a detailed plan to
implement section 103F.519 that includes the following:
new text end

new text begin (1) a process for selecting pilot watersheds that are expected to result in the greatest
water quality improvements and exhibit readiness to participate in the program;
new text end

new text begin (2) an assessment of the quantity of agricultural land that is expected to be eligible
for the program in each watershed;
new text end

new text begin (3) an assessment of landowner interest in participating in the program;
new text end

new text begin (4) an assessment of the contract terms and any recommendations for changes to the
terms, including consideration of variable payment rates for lands of different priority or
type;
new text end

new text begin (5) an assessment of the opportunity to leverage federal funds through the program
and recommendations on how to maximize the use of federal funds for assistance to
establish perennial crops;
new text end

new text begin (6) an assessment of how other state programs could complement the program;
new text end

new text begin (7) an estimate of water quality improvements expected to result from
implementation in pilot watersheds;
new text end

new text begin (8) an assessment of how to best integrate program implementation with existing
conservation requirements and develop recommendations on harvest practices and timing
to benefit wildlife production;
new text end

new text begin (9) an assessment of the potential viability and water quality benefit of cover crops
used in biomass processing facilities;
new text end

new text begin (10) a timeline for implementation, coordinated to the extent possible with proposed
biomass processing facilities; and
new text end

new text begin (11) a projection of funding sources needed to complete implementation.
new text end

new text begin (b) The board shall coordinate development of the plan with stakeholders and the
commissioners of natural resources, agriculture, and the Pollution Control Agency. The
board must submit an interim report by October 15, 2017, and the feasibility study and
program plan by February 1, 2018, to the chairs and ranking minority members of the
legislative committees and divisions with jurisdiction over agriculture, natural resources,
and environment policy and finance and to the Clean Water Council.
new text end

Sec. 3. new text beginAPPROPRIATION.
new text end

new text begin $479,000 in fiscal year 2017 is appropriated from the general fund to the Board of
Water and Soil Resources for purposes of this act. This appropriation is onetime and
is available until June 30, 2018.
new text end