116P.08 Trust fund expenditures; exceptions; plans.
Subdivision 1. Expenditures. Money in the trust fund may be spent only for:
(1) the reinvest in Minnesota program as provided in section 84.95, subdivision 2;
(2) research that contributes to increasing the effectiveness of protecting or managing the state's environment or natural resources;
(3) collection and analysis of information that assists in developing the state's environmental and natural resources policies;
(4) enhancement of public education, awareness, and understanding necessary for the protection, conservation, restoration, and enhancement of air, land, water, forests, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources;
(5) capital projects for the preservation and protection of unique natural resources;
(6) activities that preserve or enhance fish, wildlife, land, air, water, and other natural resources that otherwise may be substantially impaired or destroyed in any area of the state;
(7) administrative and investment expenses incurred by the state Board of Investment in investing deposits to the trust fund; and
(8) administrative expenses subject to the limits in section 116P.09.
Subd. 2. Exceptions. Money from the trust fund may not be spent for:
(1) purposes of environmental compensation and liability under chapter 115B and response actions under chapter 115C;
(2) purposes of municipal water pollution control under the authority of chapters 115 and 116;
(3) costs associated with the decommissioning of nuclear power plants;
(4) hazardous waste disposal facilities;
(5) solid waste disposal facilities; or
(6) projects or purposes inconsistent with the strategic plan.
Subd. 3. Strategic plan required. (a) The commission shall adopt a strategic plan for making expenditures from the trust fund, including identifying the priority areas for funding for the next six years. The strategic plan must be updated every two years. The plan is advisory only. The commission shall submit the plan, as a recommendation, to the house of representatives appropriations and senate finance committees by January 1 of each odd-numbered year.
(b) The commission may accept or modify the draft of the strategic plan submitted to it by the advisory committee before voting on the plan's adoption.
Subd. 4. Budget plan. (a) Funding may be provided only for those projects that meet the categories established in subdivision 1.
(b) Projects submitted to the commission for funding may be referred to the advisory committee for recommendation.
(c) The commission must adopt a budget plan to make expenditures from the trust fund for the purposes provided in subdivision 1. The budget plan must be submitted to the governor for inclusion in the biennial budget and supplemental budget submitted to the legislature.
(d) Money in the trust fund may not be spent except under an appropriation by law.
Subd. 5. Public meetings. All advisory committee and commission meetings must be open to the public. The commission shall attempt to meet at least once in each of the state's congressional districts during each biennium.
Subd. 6. Peer review. (a) Research proposals must include a stated purpose, timeline, potential outcomes, and an explanation of the need for the research. All research proposals must be reviewed by a peer review panel before receiving an appropriation.
(b) In conducting research proposal reviews, the peer review panel shall:
(1) comment on the methodology proposed and whether it can be expected to yield appropriate and useful information and data;
(2) comment on the need for the research and about similar existing information available, if any; and
(3) report to the commission and advisory committee on clauses (1) and (2).
(c) The peer review panel also must review completed research proposals that have received an appropriation and comment and report upon whether the project reached the intended goals.
Subd. 7. Peer review panel membership. (a) The peer review panel must consist of at least five members who are knowledgeable in general research methods in the areas of environment and natural resources. Not more than two members of the panel may be employees of state agencies in Minnesota.
(b) The commission shall select a chair every two years who shall be responsible for convening meetings of the panel as often as is necessary to fulfill its duties as prescribed in this section. Compensation of panel members is governed by section 15.059, subdivision 3.