298.22 IRON RANGE RESOURCES AND REHABILITATION.
Subdivision 1. The office of the commissioner of Iron Range resources and rehabilitation.
(1) The office of the commissioner of Iron Range resources and rehabilitation is created as an
agency in the executive branch of state government. The governor shall appoint the commissioner
of Iron Range resources and rehabilitation under section
(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 staff
and other assistance as may be necessary, must be paid out of the amounts appropriated by section
298.28 or otherwise made available by law to the commissioner
(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
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 taconite
assistance area as defined in section
. 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 taconite assistance area as defined in section
. 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
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
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
(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
(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 assistance area as defined in section
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. The commissioner may lease, for a term not exceeding 50
years and upon the terms determined by the commissioner and approved by the board, surface
and mineral interests owned or acquired by the state of Minnesota acting by and through the
office of the commissioner of Iron Range resources and rehabilitation within those portions of
the taconite assistance area affected by the closure of the LTV Steel Mining Company facility
near Hoyt Lakes. The payments and royalties from these leases must be deposited into the fund
established in section
. 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
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.
Subd. 10. Sale or privatization of functions.
The commissioner of Iron Range resources
and rehabilitation may not sell or privatize the Ironworld Discovery Center or Giants Ridge Golf
and Ski Resort without prior approval by a majority vote of the board.
Subd. 11. Budgeting.
The commissioner of Iron Range resources and rehabilitation shall
annually prepare a budget for operational expenditures, programs, and projects, and submit it
to the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board and the governor for approval. After
the budget is approved by the board and the governor, the commissioner may spend money in
accordance with the approved budget.
History: 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; 1Sp2003 c 21 art 11 s 16,17; 2004 c 150 s 1;
2004 c 289 s 1; 1Sp2005 c 1 art 4 s 88; 2006 c 281 art 4 s 14-16