An amount equal to that distributed pursuant to each taconite producer's taxable production and qualifying sales under section 298.28, subdivision 9a, shall be held by the commissioner of Iron Range resources and rehabilitation in a separate taconite economic development fund for each taconite and direct reduced ore producer. Money from the fund for each producer shall be released by the commissioner after review by a joint committee consisting of an equal number of representatives of the salaried employees and the nonsalaried production and maintenance employees of that producer. The District 11 director of the United States Steelworkers of America, on advice of each local employee president, shall select the employee members. In nonorganized operations, the employee committee shall be elected by the nonsalaried production and maintenance employees. The review must be completed no later than six months after the producer presents a proposal for expenditure of the funds to the committee. The funds held pursuant to this section may be released only for workforce development and associated public facility improvement, concurrent reclamation, or for acquisition of plant and stationary mining equipment and facilities for the producer or for research and development in Minnesota on new mining, or taconite, iron, or steel production technology, but only if the producer provides a matching expenditure equal to the amount of the distribution to be used for the same purpose beginning with distributions in 2014. Effective for proposals for expenditures of money from the fund beginning May 26, 2007, the commissioner may not release the funds before the next scheduled meeting of the board. If a proposed expenditure is not approved by the commissioner, after consultation with the advisory board, the funds must be deposited in the Taconite Environmental Protection Fund under sections 298.222 to 298.225. If a taconite production facility is sold after operations at the facility had ceased, any money remaining in the 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. If a producer fails to provide matching funds for a proposed expenditure within six months after the commissioner approves release of the funds, the funds are available for release to another producer in proportion to the distribution provided and under the conditions of this section. Any portion of the fund which is not released by the commissioner within one year of its deposit in the 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 shall be distributed to the taconite environmental protection fund and one-third to the Douglas J. Johnson economic protection trust fund.
1992 c 511 art 9 s 8; 1993 c 375 art 16 s 1; 1994 c 587 art 6 s 2; 1995 c 264 art 7 s 2; 1996 c 471 art 12 s 1; 1Sp2001 c 5 art 6 s 21; 2003 c 127 art 11 s 12; 2006 c 259 art 12 s 9; 2007 c 135 art 5 s 1; 2008 c 366 art 10 s 5; 2009 c 78 art 7 s 16; 2009 c 88 art 12 s 7; 2010 c 216 s 18; 2013 c 3 s 17; 2013 c 143 art 11 s 3; 2017 c 94 art 7 s 40; 1Sp2017 c 1 art 11 s 15