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190 Co-sponsors, Listen to the Easement Incentive Call, FRPP Comments Due Monday

Advocates Alert: July 30, 2009

Congratulations on Securing 190 Co-sponsors for H.R. 1831

Your combined efforts have secured 28 new co-sponsors for H.R. 1831 since our conference call last Thursday!  That brings our total to 190 -- more co-sponsors in four months than we secured in the entire 110th Congress!

We're now just 28 co-sponsors away from our goal of a majority in the House.  The final additions before the August recess will likely be submitted late today or early tomorrow.  Please check the co-sponsor list and contact your Representative today if he or she hasn't yet co-sponsored H.R. 1831.


Miss Our National Conference Call? Audio is Now Online

Click here to listen to last Thursday's national conference call discussing the federal tax incentive for conservation easements, our strategy to make it permanent and how land trusts can help.

We'd particularly like to thank the more than 225 participants who joined us for the call and provided over 40 minutes of stimulating Q&A.

Topics covered include:

  • Background on the incentive and its importance
  • Update of what is happening in Congress
  • Update of what the Alliance is doing
  • Land trust successes and challenges reaching out to their Representatives

Didn't get the chance to ask your question? Please call Sean Robertson (202) 638-4725, ext. 319 or e-mail policy@lta.org.


FRPP Comments Due by Monday August 3rd!

On July 2nd, the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) published a revision of last spring's interim final rule for the Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program -- and it's a good one!  In doing this, they have opened a new comment period on the program rules, and we encourage you to submit comments by August 3, if you can. Click here for the rule revision and details on how to comment.

In short, NRCS has decided they do not need to have their own title clearance process -- which had been a significant bottleneck in their program.  This change reinforces their commitment not to be a co-holder of FRPP easements, also a good thing.  They will retain a right to enforce easements purchased with FRPP funds, if they are not enforced by the holder.

It is always good to have a chance to thank NRCS for fixing a problem, and we encourage you to do this!  But this is also an important opportunity to bring their attention to other problems you may be having in getting cooperative agreements that work, and in closing FRPP deals.  Their DC staff simply may not hear about the hands-on problems of their partners -- this is a good chance to make sure they know.

Please copy us on your comments!  We want to know what your problems are, too!

One last note -- NRCS recently decided that changes in the Farm Bill inadvertently made it illegal for them to continue to do FRPP projects where the US Department of Defense (DOD) was providing the matching funds -- projects they had done in the past in South Carolina, Kansas, and Oklahoma.  The Nature Conservancy and Senator Mark Udall (D-CO) tried to get this fixed in the annual DOD authorization bill, but were unsuccessful.  We will continue to work with them to try to get these projects back on track.

Thanks for helping!

Important Reminder

If you receive a donation of land or a conservation easement, you must send a letter to the donor acknowledging the gift – or you put them at risk of an IRS audit! Click here for more on substantiation letters.

 

New Co-sponsors of H.R. 1831 and S. 812:

  • Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI/1st)
  • Rep. Rodney Alexander (R-LA/5th)
  • Rep. Steve Austria (R-OH/7th)
  • Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-MN/6th)
  • Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao (R-LA/2nd)
  • Rep. Geoff Davis (R-KY/4th)*
  • Rep. John Duncan (R-TN/2nd)
  • Rep. Bart Gordon (D-TN/6th)
  • Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL/4th)
  • Rep. Jim Himes (D-CT/4th)
  • Rep. Paul Hodes (D-NH/2nd)
  • Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL/15th)
  • Rep. Mary Jo Kilroy (D-OH/15th)
  • Rep. Leonard Lance (R-NJ/7th)
  • Rep. David Loebsack (D-IA/2nd)
  • Rep. Jim Matheson (D-UT/2nd)
  • Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA/5th)
  • Rep. Scott Murphy (D-NY/20th)
  • Rep. Tim Murphy (R-PA/18th)
  • Rep. John P. Murtha (D-PA/12th)
  • Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-NJ/8th)*
  • Rep. Gary Peters (D-MI/9th)
  • Rep. Jose Serrano (D-NY/16th)
  • Rep. Bill Shuster (R-PA/9th)
  • Rep. Albio Sires (D-NJ/13th)
  • Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI/1st)
  • Rep. Zach Wamp (R-TN/3rd)
  • Rep. David Wu (D-OR/1st)
  • Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

* Members of the Ways & Means Committee

 

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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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