LCCMR finalizes language

Posted by .

Now that the LCCMR has made its decisions regarding projects it will recommend for funding to the legislature, last Friday’s meeting focused on the details – in particular what kind of wording will be in its recommendations to the legislature.
Certainly this is not the most engaging aspect of the committee’s work but a necessary part of the process. After all, handing over budget allocations that can reach upwards of a million dollars or more for a single project requires some parameters and definitions as to how to use the monies.
One issue that the committee addressed was how they receive credit for the work they’ve done. Director John Velin understood some members questioning as to how the LCCMR promotes itself – getting proper credit from organizations and projects that it has funded. While Velin said that attribution language exists which defines what people are supposed to say when referring to their projects, there is a problem in accountability – there isn’t enough staff, or enforcement, to ensure that the LCCMR gets credit for the projects it funds. (Could this concern be a pre-emptive move against potential criticisms the newly founded Conservation Legacy Council may lobby at the LCCMR? After all, the CLC has been charged to examine the LCCMR’s methodology – and they have a direct pipeline to the governor to submit their concerns.)
The lack of credit the LCCMR receives is certainly apparent when you look at some of the projects the committee has funded. One of the biggest benefactors of the LCCMR is the DNR but a quick scan of their web site shows little or no mention of the committee’s role in assisting the DNR’s funding of projects. Certainly doesn’t seem fair given that the LCCMR’s current recommendations include more than $5 million earmarked for DNR projects.
Enforcing language is difficult in general. How does one define the “integrity” of preserving a forest (language currently used in the Forest Legacy Project)? What does “sustainability” mean and what does it encompass? Issues of enforcement both by the LCCMR and the organizations and projects it funds lead to the next question: If enforcement language is used, what is to be done if it is not met? That seems to be the quandary that faces the committee, whether getting credit for the work it has done or ensuring that those projects they funded are being executed as expected.
Other issues the committee addressed was the usage of such words as “leverage” and “match” to better define the responsibilities organizations have in meeting LCCMR requirements for funding recommendations. And while it may seem minute to pick over the implication of such words, once these recommendations hit the legislature, you can be assured that more re-writing of the language used will take place, as Rep. Kathy Tingelstad pointed out. This was the last opportunity for the citizen’s on the committee to submit their concerns regarding the language used that will be submitted to the legislature. The committee aims to have the language for its recommendations finalized by January 15.

Comments are closed.