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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Key: (1) language to be deleted (2) new language

                            CHAPTER 289-S.F.No. 2652 
                  An act relating to utilities; modifying electric power 
                  generating plant exemption from the Minnesota Power 
                  Plant Siting Act; amending Minnesota Statutes 1998, 
                  section 116C.57, subdivision 5a. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1998, section 116C.57, 
        subdivision 5a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 5a.  [EXEMPTION OF CERTAIN SITES.] (a) A utility or 
        person may apply to the board in a form and manner prescribed by 
        the board to exempt from the requirements of sections 116C.51 to 
        116C.69 the construction at a proposed site: 
           (1) of a proposed electric power generating plant with a 
        capacity between 50 and 80 megawatts from the requirements of 
        sections 116C.51 to 116C.69; or 
           (2) involving the retrofitting or repowering of an existing 
        nuclear or primarily coal-fired power plant to primarily a 
        gas-powered power plant or similar clean fuel.  Within 15 days 
        of the board's receipt of an exemption application, the utility 
        or person shall:  
           (1) publish a notice and description of the exemption 
        application in a legal newspaper of general circulation in the 
        county of the proposed site; 
           (2) send a copy of the exemption application by certified 
        mail to the chief executive of counties, home rule charter and 
        statutory cities, and organized towns within ten miles of the 
        proposed site; and 
           (3) mail to each owner whose property is part of or 
        contiguous to the proposed site a notice and description of the 
        exemption application, together with an understandable 
        description of the procedures the owner must follow should the 
        owner desire to object.  
           (b) For the purpose of giving mailed notice under this 
        subdivision, owners are the persons or entities shown on the tax 
        records of the county auditor or, in a county where tax 
        statements are mailed by the county treasurer, on the records of 
        the county treasurer, but other appropriate records may be used 
        to identify owners.  Except for owners of tax-exempt property or 
        property taxed on a gross earnings basis, a property owner whose 
        name does not appear on the records of the county auditor or the 
        county treasurer is deemed to have waived the mailed notice 
        unless the owner has requested in writing that the county 
        auditor or county treasurer, as the case may be, include the 
        owner's name on the records for that purpose.  The failure to 
        give mailed notice to a property owner or defects in the notice 
        does not invalidate the proceedings, if a good faith effort is 
        made to comply with this subdivision.  
           (c) If a person who owns real property that is part of or 
        contiguous to the proposed site or an affected political 
        subdivision files an objection with the board within 60 days 
        after the board receives an exemption application, the board 
        must either deny the exemption application or conduct a public 
        hearing to determine if the proposed electric power generating 
        plant at the proposed site will cause any significant human or 
        environmental impact.  
           (d) The board shall require environmental review under 
        chapter 116D to assist in making its determination regarding 
        potential significant human and environmental impact.  
           (e) If the board determines that the proposed plant has an 
        electric power production capacity less than 80 megawatts or is 
        being retrofitted or repowered as described in paragraph (a), 
        and the proposed site will not have a significant human and 
        environmental impact, the board may exempt the construction of 
        the proposed plant at the proposed site from the requirements of 
        sections 116C.51 to 116C.69 with any appropriate conditions.  
           (f) If an exemption is granted, the utility or person must 
        comply with applicable state rules, local zoning, building, and 
        land use rules, regulations, and ordinances of any regional, 
        county, local, and special purpose governments in which the 
        facility is to be located.  
           (g) The board may, by rule, require a fee to pay costs 
        incurred in processing exemptions.  An estimated cost for 
        processing the exemption application must be discussed with the 
        applicant and be approved by the board when an application is 
        received.  The applicant must remit 50 percent of the approved 
        cost within 14 days of acceptance of the application.  The 
        balance is due within 30 days after receipt of an invoice from 
        the board.  Costs in excess of those approved must be certified 
        by the board and charged to the applicant.  Certification is 
        prima facie evidence that the costs are reasonable and 
        necessary.  All money received pursuant to this subdivision must 
        be deposited in a special account.  Money in the account is 
        appropriated to the board to pay expenses incurred in processing 
        the application and in the event the expenses are less than the 
        fee paid, to refund the excess to the applicant. 
           Sec. 2.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Section 1 is effective the day following final enactment. 
           Presented to the governor March 24, 2000 
           Signed by the governor March 28, 2000, 2:32 p.m.