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One Week Left for Original Cosponsors, Floodplain Easement Sign-up

Advocates Alert: March 20, 2009

Conservation Easement Incentive Act Has 40 Cosponsors, Help Recruit Members of the Ways & Means Committee

Since our last alert, the list of original cosponsors on the Conservation Easement Incentive Act has grown to 40 Representatives!  Their support for this bill will help us make the enhanced tax deduction for conservation easement donations permanent. Click here to see if your Representative has signed-on.

We only have about one more week to gather original cosponsors before Reps. Mike Thompson (D-CA) and Eric Cantor (R-VA) introduce the bill.  Original cosponsors are listed in the bill text itself and an extensive list will be extremely helpful in demonstrating the breadth of our support.

Members of the Ways & Means Committee, which handles tax legislation, are particularly important. If you have any connection to the following members please call and urge them to sign-on by next week!  We've listed their staff members on tax issues and those marked with an asterisk were cosponsors last year.

Ways & Means Committee Members who are not yet cosponsors:

Committee Member                           Tax Staff

Rep. Xavier Becerra  (D-CA)*            Stacey Rolland
Rep. Shelley Berkley  (D-NV)*           Matt Coffron
Rep. Earl Blumenauer  (D-OR)*       David Skillman
Rep. Charles W. Boustany  (R-LA)   Terri Fish
Rep. Kevin Brady  (R-TX)*                   Alvin Chan
Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite  (R-FL)       Anna Heaton
Rep. Joseph Crowley  (D-NY)*          Kevin Casey
Rep. Artur Genestre Davis  (D-AL)*  Alison O'Donnell
Rep. Danny K. Davis  (D-IL)               Charles Brown
Rep. Geoff Davis  (R-KY)                    Armstrong Robinson
Rep. Bob Etheridge  (D-NC)*            Chris Medley
Rep. Dean Heller  (R-NV)                  Greg Facchiano
Rep. Wally Herger  (R-CA)                 Jay Sulzmann
Rep. Sam Johnson  (R-TX)*              Mark Williams
Rep. Ron Kind  (D-WI)*                       Erik Olson
Rep. John B. Larson  (D-CT)*           Amy O'Donnell
Rep. Sander M. Levin (D-MI)              Jeff Ziarko
Rep. John Lewis  (D-GA)*                  Michaeleen Crowell
Rep. John Linder  (R-GA)                   Jill Janovetz
Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA)*            Jayme White
Rep. Kendrick B. Meek  (D-FL)*        PhyllisJo Gervasio
Rep. Richard E. Neal (D-MA)*           Melissa Mueller
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)*                Damon Nelson
Rep. Bill Pascrell  (D-NJ)*                 Jasmine Vasquez
Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-ND)*              Diane Oakley
Rep. Charles B. Rangel  (D-NY)      Jon Sheiner
Rep. David G. Reichert  (R-WA)        Jason Edgar
Rep. Paul Ryan  (R-WI)*                    Joyce Meyer
Rep. Linda T. Sanchez  (D-CA)        Celeste Drake
Rep. Fortney Pete Stark  (D-CA)       Marci Harris
Rep. John S. Tanner  (D-TN)*           David Burns
Rep. Patrick J. Tiberi  (R-OH)*          Adam Francis
Rep. Chris Van Hollen  (D-MD)*      Bill Parsons

To reach any Member of Congress, simply call the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask for their office.  When you reach their tax staffer, urge them to cosponsor by calling Travis Robey in Rep. Thompson's office or Wyatt Stewart in Rep. Cantor's office. Click here for detailed advice and a fact sheet you can forward.

Another great opportunity to engage your Representative is the Spring District Work Period coming up April 4-19. There's no better place to build relationships with your elected officials than out on the land, and now is the time to schedule.  Click here for advice on hosting a site visit or similar event.

March 27 Deadline to Apply for Stimulus Bill Floodplain Easements

The Stimulus Bill provides $145 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to purchase of conservation easements on properties that have flooded in the last 12 months, or have a repeated history of flooding.  This recent announcement may be a good opportunity for landowners in areas your land trust is working to conserve:

As long as the landowner has clear title and is not the federal government, it could be eligible. [The sign-up] is open to land owned by state and local governments as well. There are a few screening questions local NRCS folks will ask you--that information will further clarify if the land, circumstances and damages make the land eligible for the program.

The Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP) has been around for many years, but this one-time stimulus funding won't last long.  The deadline for applications is March 27th.  Sign-ups are administered at the state level, so talk to your state conservationist if you know of any floodplain properties that need conservation in your region.

We've heard reports of other federal agencies already reviewing lists of stimulus spending plans submitted by their state and local offices.  If your organization has a promising lead on partnering with a federal agency for stimulus funds, please let us know so we can share the idea.

Thanks for helping!

P.S.: The following members of the Ways & Means Committee have already signed on as cosponsors, please call and say thank you!

Rep. Eric Cantor  (R-VA)                Wyatt Stewart
Rep. Lloyd Doggett  (D-TX)           Cameron Arterton
Rep. Brian Higgins  (D-NY)           Andy Tantillo
Rep. Peter J. Roskam  (R-IL)        David Mork
Rep. Allyson Y. Schwartz  (D-PA)  Kirk Freeman
Rep. Mike Thompson  (D-CA)       Travis Robey
Rep. John A. Yarmuth  (D-KY)       Ashley Bromagen

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September 11: The Senate is back in session now for two weeks before recessing until after the midterm elections.there is still an opportunity to create a surge of support in the Senate for taking up the House-passed charitable giving package, which includes the tax incentive for conservation easement donations. Please ask your Senators to speak to leadership in support of the incentive, and to give a brief statement on the floor. please take a few minutes to read about our proposed 2015 work and answer our brief survey about how our team can better represent you in 2015
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