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Take a 50-State Guided Tour

Guided Tour of the Conservation Easement Enabling Statutes is an in-depth and comparative analysis of 50 states’ conservation easement enabling acts, a must-have resource for anyone in conservation – and it’s just been updated.

View report on *The Learning Center »

This report presents a comprehensive overview of state conservation easement enabling statutes, understood in the context of other state and federal laws that may apply on any given issue. It does not attempt to explore all the laws that affect conservation easements, but rather serves as a guided tour of enabling statutes, with discussion about potential areas that individual states may want to consider for legislative clarification.

Conservationists should be mindful of how enabling statutes interact with other laws as they evaluate whether to propose legislation to amend their enabling act. By looking at what other states include and omit interested parties can evaluate the risks and benefits of various approaches to conservation easement enabling acts.

This report gives particular attention to amendment, termination and legal standing to enforce. Most statutes are silent or refer to “other law” on these issues, creating the potential for ambiguity. A handful of states are discussed in detail as noteworthy exceptions.

No enabling statute purports to repeal or otherwise supplant other applicable state or federal law, such as the laws governing nonprofit management and the administration of charitable gifts and charitable trusts. To the extent that the enabling act and other applicable laws analyzed together do not provide complete or clear answers to the more sophisticated questions facing conservationists today, then land trusts and their advisors may wish to consider appropriate legislation addressing these issues.

  • Appendix A provides a chart for a quick comparison of the various statutes on a dozen key factors.
  • Appendix B sets forth the highlights of each state’s statute.
  • Appendix C enumerates several provisions that might be considered as part of any comprehensive amendment to an enabling statute.
  • Appendix D is a copy of the Uniform Conservation Easement Act, along with the Official Comments.

*The Learning Center is a service offered to Alliance member land trusts, partners and individual members at the $250 level and above.

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Christian Freitag, attorney-at-law and executive director at Sycamore Land Trust (IN), says "I view Conservation Defense Insurance as another step the land trust community is taking to keep our promises. We claim that we will help people protect their land in perpetuity. With this program, the public can be more confident than ever that we take that commitment seriously."

 

Greg Gamble, executive director at Ojai Valley Land Conservancy (CA), says that "this is one of the most helpful things that the Land Trust Alliance could attempt for its members, and I have greatly appreciated the professional, thoughtful, fair and inclusive process that you have led."

 

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