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Legislation appoints czar to oversee 'school trust' forestland

Gov. Mark Dayton late Saturday night signed into law legislation that changes how 2.5 million acres of state forestland is managed across northern Minnesota. The new law leaves the 'school trust' land under the umbrella of the DNR but adds a new state director of trust lands to oversee how the land is used.
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Gov. Mark Dayton late Saturday night signed into law legislation that changes how 2.5 million acres of state forestland is managed across northern Minnesota. The new law leaves the 'school trust' land under the umbrella of the DNR but adds a new state director of trust lands to oversee how the land is used.

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Dayton okays new oversight for school trust lands

The legislation signed into law establishes a Legislative Permanent School Fund Commission and a new state director. The 2.5 million acres of state forest in northern Minnesota is still under the Department of Natural Resources, but it changes how it's managed and demands more emphasis on maximizing revenue.

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The 16-member legislative-citizen panel would recommend policies to raise more money from the 2.5 million acres of school trust lands in northern Minnesota. Critics who want the DNR to continue to manage the lands are concerned the change would leave the land vulnerable to degradation. The House has passed a similar measure.

House votes to end DNR's oversight of school trust land

Supporters of the move hope a new permanent board could raise more money from the 2.5 million acres of land that the federal government gave the state in 1858. But those who believe the DNR should retain control say the move would leave the land vulnerable to degradation.

Battle brews over 2.5 million acres of school trust land in northern Minnesota

More than 150 years ago the federal government gave a vast swath of land to the state to establish a trust to fund education. But today some people say that trust isn't building up fast enough and that the DNR should no longer manage the land. Critics say the DNR focuses too much on conservation when they should be encouraging more logging and mining. But others say a move to wrest control of the land from the DNR isn't about education at all and just a play to open more land to the mining industry.

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