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Majorities of Both Parties Back Land Conservation Bill

October 1, 2009 | Washington, D.C.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: 
Russ Shay,
Director of Public Policy
202-638-4725, ext. 305
rshay@lta.org

 

Majorities of Both Parties Back Land Conservation Bill

WASHINGTON, DC -The Land Trust Alliance announced today that a majority of the House of Representatives – including majorities of both Democratic and Republican members – has co-sponsored legislation that will help protect millions of acres of the nation’s forests, agricultural lands and open spaces. H.R. 1831 makes permanent an expiring incentive that allows modest-income landowners to receive meaningful tax deductions for donating conservation easements that permanently protect important natural or historic resources on their lands.

Congressmen Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) have now recruited 232 co-sponsors for their Conservation Easement Incentive Act, H.R. 1831.  This proposal has solid backing from every part of the country and from across the ideological spectrum, including a majority of both the Democratic and Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee.

“In this time when partisan conflict seems to be the norm, we are thrilled that Democrats and Republicans can agree on the importance of conservation,” said Land Trust Alliance president Rand Wentworth.  “Unless Congress acts, this important tool for conserving special places across America will expire at the end of 2009. We look forward to working with all 232 co-sponsors to enact the bill this year.”

“We’ve seen a 50 percent increase in the number of conservation easement donations since Congress passed my provisions to enhance these tax benefits on a temporary basis in 2006,” said Congressman Mike Thompson (D-CA).  “It’s time we made these protections permanent.  By making sure that landowners can count on this, we’ll take a big step forward in protecting environmentally important lands and family farms.”

"Many families across Virginia have made great use of this tax deduction. Providing permanent incentives for easements is smart policy to promote conservation," said House Republican Whip Eric Cantor (R-VA).

Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and ranking member Charles Grassley (R-IA) have secured 30 co-sponsors for companion legislation in the Senate, the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act, S. 812. For a complete list of House and Senate co-sponsors, please visit www.lta.org/easementincentive/cosponsors.

The Land Trust Alliance is a national conservation group that works to save the places people love, working with nearly 1,700 local, regional and national nonprofit conservation organizations.  It works to increase the pace and quality of conservation by advocating favorable tax policies, training land trusts in best practices, and working to ensure the permanence of conservation in the face of continuing threats.

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