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Urge Your Senators to Sign LWCF/ Forest Legacy Letter, 2 Days Left for House Letter

Advocates Alert: March 15, 2010

Update: For the latest information on these letters, please see our March 22 alert.

With far less time than in previous years, we need your help today to support the historic increases for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Forest Legacy Program in President Obama's FY 2011 Budget.

Update: The House letter deadline extended to Noon on Friday!

Senate LWCF/Forest Legacy Letter Open for Signatures

On Friday, Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Olympia Snowe (R-ME) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) circulated a new sign-on letter seeking $384 million for the Federal LWCF program, $50 million for the LWCF stateside program and $100 million for the Forest Legacy Program.  While less ambitious than the House letter, these numbers from the President's budget request are significant increases over last year and will be a challenge to achieve in this tough budget climate.

Please urge your Senators to sign-on by Wednesday, March 24:

  • Call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for each of your Senators.
  • Ask for the staff member who handles Natural Resource issues and urge them to sign the letter supporting increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Forest Legacy.
  • Offer to email them a copy of the letter and indicate they can sign by contacting Adrienne Wojciechowski in Senator Leahy's office (4-4242), Trent Bauserman in Senator Shaheen's office (4-2841) or Patrick Woodcock in Senator Snowe's office (4-5344).
  • Click here and select the Senate tab to see if they signed last year's LWCF letter.  If so, please thank them when seeking their renewed support.

These programs have historically been the most significant federal sources of funding to support land conservation. LWCF funds acquisition of federal park, forest, wildlife refuge and other public lands and matches state funding for park acquisition and development.  The Forest Legacy Program provides grants to purchase conservation easements or fee acquisition on environmentally important forest lands that are threatened with conversion to non-forest uses.  Click here for more talking points.

Has Your Rep. Signed the LWCF Letter? Call Before Friday's Deadline!

With just two days left, there are only 82 signers on the House LWCF/Forest Legacy letter, far short of the 137 signers on last-year's letter.  Please click here to see if your Representative has signed on.

If so, please say thank you!  See our dozen ways to say thank you for ideas.

If not, call and ask them to sign-on today:

  • Please call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for your Representative.
  • Ask for the staff member who handles Natural Resource issues and urge them to sign the letter supporting increased funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Forest Legacy.
  • Offer to email them a copy of the letter and indicate they can sign by contacting Jesse Young in Rep. Murphy's office (5-4476) or Lauryn Schothorst in Rep. Gerlach's office (5-4315). The deadline is Noon on Friday, March 19!

We'll keep the list of signers updated right up to the deadline, so please check back and keep calling until your Senators and Representative sign-on.

We've heard a few reports of Republican offices not signing due to the new House GOP earmark moratorium.   We can certainly respect specific offices' decisions not to sign onto dear colleague appropriations requests, but it does not appear that the new Republican earmark ban would affect a member's ability to sign the LWCF letter.  That moratorium is directed towards earmarks, or specific project requests, while our letter seeks a programmatic increase for a program previously authorized by Congress.

Update on the Enhanced Easement Incentive Extension

You may hear today's news reports that the Senate has passed a "jobs bill" (H.R. 2847) and sent it to the President, but before you get too excited, we wanted to clarify that this is a different "jobs bill" than H.R. 4213, which would renew the enhanced easement incentive.  We remain optimistic the House will act on H.R. 4213 sometime soon and will keep you posted.  Land trusts fortunate enough to be in a position to add staff this year should know that H.R. 2847 does contain a useful break on payroll taxes for new employees.

We also wanted to clarify that the Senate-passed H.R. 4213 also includes one-year extensions of two other provisions we've been following: the IRA Charitable Rollover, which allows certain taxpayers to make penalty-free IRA withdrawals for charitable donations, and the "S-Corp fix," which allows S-Corp shareholders to deduct the fair market value of charitable donations rather than just their basis in company stock.

Thanks for helping!

H.R. 1831 Co-sponsors Added Since Last Update

  • Rep. John Garamendi (D-CA/10th)

Click here for the full list.


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