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S.F. No. 3290 - Biomass Business Compensation (Third Engrossment)
Author: Senator Andrew R. Lang
Prepared By: Carlon D. Fontaine, Senate Counsel (651/296-4395)
Date: March 21, 2018


Section 1. Biomass Business Compensation.

Subdivision 1.  Office of Administrative Hearings; claims process.  Requires the chief administrative law judge of the Office of Administrative Hearings to name an administrative law judge to administer a claims award process to compensate businesses negatively affected by the sale and closure of a biomass plant located in the city of Benson. Allows the administrative law judge to create a process to consider claims for affected businesses and issue awards to eligible businesses.

Subd. 2.  Eligibility.  Establishes the eligibility threshold for compensation. Requires an affected business to verify that as of May 1, 2017, it was operating under the terms of a valid contract or provide other documentation demonstrating an ongoing business relationship with the biomass plant or the fertilizer plant integrated within the biomass plant. 

Subd. 3.  Calculation of award.  Requires an eligible business to demonstrate the extent of its lost business opportunity by providing copies of any contracts and other documentation. Requires a business seeking compensation to report any payment received from business interruption insurance policies and also provide a valuation of the sales, salvage, or scrap value of real or personal property associated with the business. Allows a business seeking compensation to provide information documenting its stranded investment.  Provides that data submitted by businesses requesting compensation is classified as business data.

Subd. 4.  Priority.  Requires the administrative law judge to give priority to claims by eligible businesses that demonstrate a significant effort to mitigate losses resulting from the closure of the biomass plant. Prioritizes considerations for the administrative law judge as follows dependent on whether the eligible business:

(1) demonstrated effort to pivot the business through retasking and retooling;

(2) formed as a result of the biomass plant commencing operations;

(3) was in business prior to the date the biomass plant commenced operations; or

(4) is requesting compensation for a total business loss without mitigation efforts.

Subd. 5.  Amount of claim.  Specifies that claims are limited by and proportional to the amount provided for compensation in the biomass business compensation fund and the number of claimants.

Subd. 6.  Deadlines.  Requires a business seeking compensation to file claims with the administrative law judge within 60 days of the date the biomass plant closure. Requires any offer of settlement be made within 180 days after the deadline to file claims. Requires a business to accept an offer of settlement within 40 days of the date it received the offer.

Subd. 7.  Appeals.  Allows appeals of decisions to deny compensation using the contested case review procedures.

Section 2.  Biomass business compensation account.

Subdivision 1.  Account established.  Establishes a biomass business compensation account in the special revenue fund in the state treasury.  Requires funds remaining in the account as of December 31, 2020, to be transferred to the renewable development account.

Subd. 2.  Funding for the special account.  Requires $40,000,000 to be transferred on July 1, 2018, from the renewable development account to the biomass business compensation account.

Subd. 3.  Payment of expenses.  Provides a mechanism for the chief administrative law judge to certify costs incurred to administer the biomass business compensation claims process. Specifies that the transfer of certified costs will come from the renewable development account.


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