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Appeals Court reverses ruling in timber lawsuit

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The Minnesota Court of Appeals says a lower court erred when it ruled in favor of timber companies who claimed the state broke promises by capping payments under a forest management program.

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Three large timber companies sued the state last year, saying Minnesota breached contracts by capping payments at $100,000 per landowner. They claimed the caps cost them nearly $8 million.

The payments are made under the Sustainable Forest Incentive Act, which allows landowners to get annual payments if they meet requirements such as having a forest management plan.

The appeals court says the act is not an enforceable promise, and the case should go back to Ramsey County so a ruling can be made in the state's favor.

The state capped payments as lawmakers tried to balance the budget.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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