298.2961 Producer grants.
Subdivision 1. Appropriation. (a) $10,000,000 is appropriated from the Douglas J. Johnson economic protection trust fund to a special account in the taconite area environmental protection fund for grants to producers on a project-by-project basis as provided in this section.
(b) The proceeds of the tax designated under section 298.28, subdivision 9b, are appropriated for grants to producers on a project-by-project basis as provided in this section.
Subd. 2. Projects; approval. (a) Projects funded must be for:
(1) environmentally unique reclamation projects;
(2) pit or plant repairs, expansions, or modernizations other than for a value added iron products plant; or
(3) haulage trucks and equipment and mining shovels.
(b) To be proposed by the board, a project must be approved by at least eight Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board members. The money for a project may be spent only upon approval of the project by the governor. The board may submit supplemental projects for approval at any time.
(c) The board may require that it receive an equity percentage in any project to which it contributes under this section.
Subd. 3. Redistribution. (a) If a taconite production facility is sold after operations at the facility had ceased, any money remaining in the taconite environmental fund for the former producer may be released to the purchaser of the facility on the terms otherwise applicable to the former producer under this section.
(b) Any portion of the taconite environmental fund that is not released by the commissioner within three years of its deposit in the taconite environmental fund shall be divided between the taconite environmental protection fund created in section 298.223 and the Douglas J. Johnson economic protection trust fund created in section 298.292 for placement in their respective special accounts. Two-thirds of the unreleased funds must be distributed to the taconite environmental protection fund and one-third to the Douglas J. Johnson economic protection trust fund.
Subd. 4. Grant and loan fund. (a) A fund is established to receive distributions under section 298.28, subdivision 9b, and to make grants or loans as provided in this subdivision. Any grant or loan made under this subdivision must be approved by a majority of the members of the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board, established under section 298.22.
(b) Distributions received in calendar year 2005 are allocated to the city of Virginia for improvements and repairs to the city's steam heating system.
(c) Distributions received in calendar year 2006 are allocated to a project of the public utilities commissions of the cities of Hibbing and Virginia to convert their electrical generating plants to the use of biomass products, such as wood.
(d) Distributions received in calendar year 2007 must be paid to the city of Tower to be used for the East Two Rivers project in or near the city of Tower.
(e) For distributions received in 2008 and later, amounts may be allocated to joint ventures with mining companies for reclamation of lands containing abandoned or worked out mines to convert these lands to marketable properties for residential, recreational, commercial, or other valuable uses.