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One Thing Congress Agrees On: Land Conservation

February 17, 2012 | Land Trust Alliance | Washington, D.C.


Contact: Russ Shay
Director of Public Policy
W: 202.800.2230 | C: 202-285-5435 |


Majorities of Republicans and Democrats – 300 Cosponsors – Urge House Passage of Conservation Tax Incentive


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Congressmen Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) announced today that 300 representatives have co-sponsored their bill to conserve America’s forests, agricultural lands and open spaces – more than any other tax bill. H.R. 1964 makes permanent a recently-expired tax incentive that allows modest-income landowners to receive significant tax deductions for donating conservation easements that permanently protect important natural or historic resources on their lands.

“We are thrilled that majorities of Republicans and Democrats can agree on supporting the work of local land trusts that is so important to their communities,” said Land Trust Alliance President Rand Wentworth. “We thank U.S. Representatives Jim Gerlach and Mike Thompson for championing this cause, and look forward to working with all 300 co-sponsors to get the job done.”

"This legislation has generated tremendous bipartisan support because the conservation easement tax incentive works," said Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-6). "The tax incentive gives family farmers, ranchers and other property owners more choices and creates opportunities for partnerships between non-profit organizations, federal, state and local officials. With the support of nearly three-quarters of the House, I am hopeful that conservation easements will remain an option for all property owners."

“The enhanced conservation easement incentive is a success – last year we reached a total of 47 million acres of land saved from development, a 27% jump from 2005. But it’s not just about the numbers, it’s about helping folks plan, conserve land and protect wildlife so our kids and grandkids can enjoy these natural treasures,” said Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-1). “300 co-authors from both the Republican and Democratic sides of the aisle is a nearly unmatched statement of support. Now it’s time to pass this bill and make this conservation incentive permanent.”

Landowners can retire the development rights on their land by donating a conservation easement to a land trust in their community – keeping agricultural land in productive use, protecting important fish and wildlife habitat, and conserving our scenic and historic heritage. Since the incentive expired at the end of 2011, landowners with modest incomes now receive little tax benefit from restricting what may be their family’s most valuable asset.  By allowing donors to deduct a larger portion of their income over a longer period of time, H.R. 1964 will help thousands of family farmers, ranchers, and forest owners afford to conserve their land.

View the co-sponsor list at:

One Thing Congress Agrees On: Land Conservation

About The Land Trust Alliance

The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation organization that leads a national network of 1,700 land trusts – local, nonprofit organizations working to protect clean water, local food, and places to play in their communities. We increase the pace of conservation, so more land and natural resources get protected. We enhance the quality of conservation, so the most important lands get protected using best practices. And we ensure the permanence of conservation by creating the laws and resources needed to defend protected land over time.


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