(1) Each program, project, or activity for which funding is requested, whether such request has as its origin an application or the action of the department itself, shall be reviewed as provided in sections 2-1506 to 2-1513 by the director prior to the approval of any allocation for such program, project, or activity by the commission.
(2) The director may recommend approval of and the commission may approve grants or loans, including the appropriate repayment period and the rate of interest, for program, project, or activity costs or acquisition of interests in programs, projects, or activities if after investigation and evaluation the director finds that:
(a) The plan does not conflict with any existing Nebraska state land plan;
(b) The proposed program, project, or activity is economically and financially feasible based upon standards adopted by the commission pursuant to sections 2-1506 to 2-1513;
(c) The plan for development of the proposed program, project, or activity is satisfactory;
(d) The plan of development minimizes any adverse impacts on the natural environment;
(e) The applicant is qualified, responsible, and legally capable of carrying out the program, project, or activity;
(f) In the case of a loan, the borrower has demonstrated the ability to repay the loan and there is assurance of adequate operation, maintenance, and replacement during the repayment life of the program, project, or activity;
(g) The plan considers other plans and programs of the state and resources development plans of the political subdivisions of the state; and
(h) The money required from the Water Sustainability Fund is available.
(3) The director and staff of the department shall carry out their powers and duties under sections 2-1506 to 2-1513 independently of and without prejudice to their powers and duties under other provisions of law.
(4) No member of the commission shall be eligible to participate in the action of the commission concerning an application for funding to any entity in which such commission member has any interest. The director may be delegated additional responsibilities consistent with the purposes of sections 2-1506 to 2-1513. It shall be the sole responsibility of the commission to determine the priority in which funds are allocated for eligible programs, projects, or activities under section 2-1508.