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Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Revisor of Statutes

Chapter 298

Section 298.22

Recent History

298.22 Iron range resources and rehabilitation.

Subdivision 1. Commissioner of iron range resources and rehabilitation. (1) The governor shall appoint the commissioner of iron range resources and rehabilitation under section 15.06.

(2) The commissioner may hold other positions or appointments that are not incompatible with duties as commissioner of iron range resources and rehabilitation. The commissioner may appoint a deputy commissioner. All expenses of the commissioner, including the payment of such assistance as may be necessary, must be paid out of the amounts appropriated by section 298.28.

(3) When the commissioner determines that distress and unemployment exists or may exist in the future in any county by reason of the removal of natural resources or a possibly limited use of natural resources in the future and any resulting decrease in employment, the commissioner may use whatever amounts of the appropriation made to the commissioner of revenue in section 298.28 that are determined to be necessary and proper in the development of the remaining resources of the county and in the vocational training and rehabilitation of its residents, except that the amount needed to cover cost overruns awarded to a contractor by an arbitrator in relation to a contract awarded by the commissioner or in effect after July 1, 1985, is appropriated from the general fund. For the purposes of this section, "development of remaining resources" includes, but is not limited to, the promotion of tourism.

Subd. 2. Iron range resources and rehabilitation board. There is hereby created the iron range resources and rehabilitation board, consisting of 13 members, five of whom are state senators appointed by the subcommittee on committees of the rules committee of the senate, and five of whom are representatives, appointed by the speaker of the house of representatives. The remaining members shall be appointed one each by the senate majority leader, the speaker of the house of representatives, and the governor and must be nonlegislators who reside in a tax relief area as defined in section 273.134, paragraph (b). The members shall be appointed in January of every odd-numbered year, except that the initial nonlegislator members shall be appointed by July 1, 1999, and shall serve until January of the next odd-numbered year. Vacancies on the board shall be filled in the same manner as the original members were chosen. At least a majority of the legislative members of the board shall be elected from state senatorial or legislative districts in which over 50 percent of the residents reside within a tax relief area as defined in section 273.134, paragraph (b). All expenditures and projects made by the commissioner of iron range resources and rehabilitation shall be consistent with the priorities established in subdivision 8 and shall first be submitted to the iron range resources and rehabilitation board for approval by a majority of the board of expenditures and projects for rehabilitation purposes as provided by this section, and the method, manner, and time of payment of all funds proposed to be disbursed shall be first approved or disapproved by the board. The board shall biennially make its report to the governor and the legislature on or before November 15 of each even-numbered year. The expenses of the board shall be paid by the state from the funds raised pursuant to this section.

Subd. 3. Commissioner may acquire property. Whenever the commissioner of iron range resources and rehabilitation has made determinations required by subdivision 1 and has determined that distress and unemployment exists or may exist in the future in any county by reason of the removal of the natural resources or a possible limited use thereof in the future and the decrease in employment resulting therefrom and deems that the acquirement of real estate or personal property is necessary and proper in the development of the remaining resources, the commissioner may acquire such property or interests therein by gift, purchase, or lease. The commissioner may purchase insurance to protect any property acquired from loss or damage by fire, or to protect the commissioner from any liability the commissioner may incur by reason of ownership of the property, or both. If after such property is acquired it is necessary in the judgment of the commissioner to acquire a right-of-way for access to projects operated on property acquired by gift, purchase, or lease, said right-of-way may be acquired by condemnation in the manner provided by law. If the owner or operator of an iron mine or related production or beneficiation facilities discontinues the operation of the mine or facilities for any reason, the commissioner may acquire any or all of the mine lands and related facilities by gift, purchase, lease, or condemnation in the manner provided in chapter 117.

Subd. 4. Commissioner may accept grants and conveyances. Whenever property has been granted and conveyed to the state of Minnesota in accordance with an agreement made by the commissioner of iron range resources and rehabilitation and the commissioner of administration for the necessary and proper development of the remaining resources of any distressed county, such grants, and conveyances or leases are hereby accepted in accordance with the terms and conditions thereof.

Subd. 5. Commissioner may lease property. In order to carry out the terms and provisions of this section, the commissioner of iron range resources and rehabilitation and the commissioner of administration may lease any property acquired hereunder for a term not to exceed 20 years upon such terms as they may determine, provided that such property shall not be leased to any person in such a manner as to constitute a direct contribution of working capital to a business enterprise. Such lease may provide that in the event the property is ever sold by the state to such lessee, the lessee may obtain a credit on the purchase price covering the rentals paid under the lease or any renewals thereof and that said real estate can be conveyed by the commissioner of iron range resources and rehabilitation and the commissioner of administration and the said commissioners are hereby authorized to make such conveyances.

Subd. 6. Private entity participation. The board may acquire an equity interest in any project for which it provides funding. The commissioner may establish, participate in the management of, and dispose of the assets of charitable foundations and nonprofit corporations associated with any project for which it provides funding, including specifically, but without limitation, a corporation within the meaning of section 317A.011, subdivision 6.

Subd. 7. Project area development authority. (a) In addition to the other powers granted in this section and other law and notwithstanding any limitations contained in subdivision 5, the commissioner, for purposes of fostering economic development and tourism within the Giants Ridge recreation area or the Ironworld Discovery Center area, may spend any money made available to the agency under section 298.28 to acquire real or personal property or interests therein by gift, purchase, or lease and may convey by lease, sale, or other means of conveyance or commitment any or all property interests owned or administered by the commissioner within such areas.

(b) In furtherance of development of the Giants Ridge recreation area or the Ironworld Discovery Center area, the commissioner may establish and participate in charitable foundations and nonprofit corporations, including a corporation within the meaning of section 317A.011, subdivision 6.

(c) The term "Giants Ridge recreation area" refers to an economic development project area established by the commissioner in furtherance of the powers delegated in this section within St. Louis county in the western portions of the town of White and in the eastern portion of the westerly, adjacent, unorganized township.

(d) The term "Ironworld Discovery Center area" refers to an economic development and tourism promotion project area established by the commissioner in furtherance of the powers delegated in this section within St. Louis county in the south portion of the town of Balkan.

Subd. 8. Spending priority. In making or approving any expenditures on programs or projects, the commissioner and the board shall give the highest priority to programs and projects that target relief to those areas of the taconite tax relief area as defined in section 273.134, paragraph (b), that have the largest percentages of job losses and population losses directly attributable to the economic downturn in the taconite industry since the 1980s. The commissioner and the board shall compare the 1980 population and employment figures with the 2000 population and employment figures, and shall specifically consider the job losses in 2000 and 2001 resulting from the closure of LTV Steel Mining Company, in making or approving expenditures consistent with this subdivision, as well as the areas of residence of persons who suffered job loss for which relief is to be targeted under this subdivision. This subdivision supersedes any other conflicting provisions of law and does not preclude the commissioner and the board from making expenditures for programs and projects in other areas.

Subd. 9. Economic development and trade promotion. In the promotion of tourism, trade, and economic development, the commissioner may expend money made available to the agency under section 298.28 in the same manner as private persons, firms, corporations, and associations make expenditures for these purposes. An expenditure for food, lodging, or travel is not governed by the travel rules of the commissioner of employee relations.

HIST: 1941 c 544 s 4; 1943 c 590 s 4; 1949 c 739 s 22; 1951 c 713 s 31; 1957 c 882 s 1; Ex1959 c 49 s 1; 1969 c 399 s 43,49; 1969 c 1129 art 8 s 9; art 10 s 2; 1971 c 25 s 59; 1973 c 613 s 1; 1974 c 406 s 67; 1975 c 271 s 6; 1977 c 305 s 34; 1977 c 423 art 10 s 8,9; 1980 c 607 art 7 s 3; 1983 c 301 s 183; 1986 c 444; 1Sp1986 c 3 art 2 s 49; 1987 c 404 s 162; 1988 c 719 art 19 s 16; 1995 c 224 s 92; 1996 c 452 s 34; 1997 c 200 art 1 s 71; 2Sp1997 c 3 s 14; 1998 c 351 s 4; 1998 c 389 art 10 s 5; 1999 c 223 art 2 s 42,43; 1999 c 243 art 5 s 33; 2001 c 149 s 1; 1Sp2001 c 5 art 6 s 14,15; 2002 c 380 art 2 s 15,16