Land Trusts Converge on Washington to Build Support for Land Conservation
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Rob Aldrich, Communications Director
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WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Land trusts converged on Capitol Hill this week to educate and engage political leaders on conservation issues during the 2013 Land Trust Advocacy Day sponsored by the Land Trust Alliance. Land conservation leaders attended issue briefings and networking events before conducting over 150 individual meetings with members of Congress in the Senate and House from key districts and on the Tax, Agriculture and Appropriations committees to promote the economic, social and natural impact their work has on rural, suburban and urban communities alike.
“There is strong bipartisan support for land conservation in Congress because everyone can agree on the need for what land trusts provide: clean water, land to grow food, urban parks and gardens, and places to connect with nature,” said Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth.
Senators Chris Murphy (D-CT) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) met with the land conservationists to emphasize the importance of sharing the stories of how land conservation is creating vibrant communities that are healthy places to live, work and play.
On Tuesday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) introduced the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act of 2013, S.526, which makes permanent the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easements that is set to expire at the end of 2013.
Senator Stabenow, Chairwoman, U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, stressed the need to pass both the Farm Bill and the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act of 2013. "The Farm Bill is the most significant investment we make as a country in conservation, so passing a bipartisan bill is the most important way we can fulfill our commitment to clean water, land and air. We passed a strong Farm Bill last year, with broad bipartisan support, and we will continue our efforts this year to write a Farm Bill that makes conservation a top priority for all agricultures and landscapes. I'm also a proud co-sponsor of the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act, to ensure that enhanced tax incentives for conservation easements continue beyond 2013."
Land Trust Alliance Executive Vice President Mary Pope Hutson urged member land trusts to keep the momentum going as they continue their advocacy efforts in their communities. “The Land Trust Alliance is proud of our network of more than 1, 700 land trusts that are passionate about their work and build relationships with their elected officials at the federal, state and local level to promote land conservation, build strong communities and steward our natural heritage for future generations.”
About the Land Trust Alliance
The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation group that works on behalf of the nation’s 1,700 land trusts to save the places people love by strengthening conservation nationwide. The Alliance works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies and training land trusts in best practices, and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats.