The LCCMR is made up of 17 members: 5 Senators, 5 Representatives, 5 citizens appointed by the governor, 1 citizen appointed by the Senate, and 1 citizen appointed by the House. The function of the LCCMR is to make funding recommendations to the legislature for special environment and natural resource projects, primarily from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF). These projects help maintain and enhance Minnesota's environment and natural resources. The LCCMR developed from a program initiated in 1963. Since 1963, approximately $1.0 billion has been appropriated to more than 2,300 projects recommended to the legislature by the Commission to protect and enhance Minnesota's environment and natural resources.
In 1988, 77% of Minnesota voters approved a constitutional amendment establishing the ENRTF (Article XI, Sec. 14) - a constitutionally dedicated fund that originates from a combination of Minnesota State Lottery proceeds and investment income. The purpose of the ENRTF is to provide a long-term, consistent, and stable source of funding for activities that protect, conserve, preserve, and enhance Minnesota's "air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources" for the benefit of current citizens and future generations. Since 1991, the ENRTF has provided approximately $700 million to over 1,700 projects around the state.
As of April 2, 2021, the Legislative‐Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) received 220 proposals requesting a total of approximately $178 million. 31 proposals withdrew after the passage of the 2020 and 2021 ENRTF appropriations, resulting in a revised total of 189 proposals requesting a total of approximately $142 million. This RFP process is for funding beginning July 1, 2021.
LCCMR reviews and evaluates all proposals against their 10 adopted evaluation criteria. On July 6, members selected 99 proposals requesting a total of approximately $106 million to invite in for a presentation before the LCCMR on July 13, 15, 20, and 27-29 in order to receive further consideration. On August 26, the LCCMR will make final selection and funding allocation decisions. These selected projects will be presented to the 2022 Minnesota Legislature as the official LCCMR recommendations for spending from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
On June 25, 2021, the Legislature adopted 88 LCCMR recommendations as recommended in 2021. They also added one additional appropriation, primarily using unspent funds from previous projects for $840,000. On June 29, 2021, 89 appropriations were signed into law by the Governor as M.L. 2021, First Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 6, with $70,881,000 FY22 and $840,000 recaptured from prior fiscal years, for $71,721,000 total appropriations.
On June 25, 2021, the Legislature adopted 77 LCCMR recommendations as tentatively recommended in 2020, provided additional funds to one tentative recommendation, reduced funds for one tentative recommendation, and modified one other. They also added 8 additional appropriations, primarily using unspent funds from prior appropriations that would otherwise return to the Trust Fund, totaling $3,648,000. On June 29, 2021, 85 appropriations were signed into law by the Governor as M.L. 2021, First Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 5, with $61,387,000 from FY21 and $3,932,000 recaptured from prior fiscal years, for $65,319,000 total appropriations.
The LCCMR biennial report as required in M.S. 116P.09, Subd. 7 from the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) due January 15, 2021 is available. The report covers LCCMR actions from Jan. 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020, including summaries of past funding accomplishments and new recommendations for funding from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund.
The 2021 Legislature made 3 appropriations for the LCCMR's Emerging Issues Account: (1) M.L. 2021, First Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 5, 10 for $1,095,000 (for renewable energy demonstration projects at wastewater treatment facilities); (2) M.L. 2021, First Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 5, 20c for $298,000; and (3) M.L. 2021, First Special Session, Chapter 6, Article 6, 10c for $233,000. These appropriations are authorized under M.S. 116P.08, Subd. 4 and can be allocated to efforts addressing an unexpected and urgent need in an expedited manner.