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Almost a Majority for H.R. 1831, WGA Letter, Bill to Fund LWCF, CSP Sign-up

Advocates Alert: September 11, 2009

Three Co-sponsors Away from a Majority in the House

We're excited to share a sneak peek at the list of Conservation Easement Incentive Act co-sponsors that will be posted Monday (scroll down).  It includes 13 new co-sponsors, bringing our total to 215!

We need just 3 more H.R. 1831 co-sponsors for a majority of the House. Just 7 more Republicans would give us a majority of both parties. Please check our co-sponsor list to see if all the Representatives from your region have signed on. If not, please see our step-by-step instructions for urging them to co-sponsor today. With your help, we can soar past 218 for a strong announcement next week!

Western Governors’ Association Endorses H.R. 1831

Last week, Western Governors' Association chairs Brian Schweitzer (D-MT) and C.L. "Butch" Otter (R-ID) sent a letter to Ways & Means Committee chairman Charles Rangel (D-NY) and the entire Western delegation urging them to support the Conservation Easement Incentive Act!  Such a direct policy ask is quite rare for the WGA and it should be extremely helpful, but it will help for local land trusts to follow-up.  If you work in the West, please forward a copy of the letter to your Rep.'s tax staffer with a note about why this incentive is important to you!

That letter is just one example of a great recess action that could easily be forgotten now that Congress has returned to Washington.  We already know of several instances of Representatives personally committing to co-sponsor, but forgetting to tell their DC staff to actually add them to the list! Now is the time to follow up with your Representative's staff in DC about any commitments made over recess. You can reach any Congressional office via the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.


New Energy Bill Would Fully Fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund

We have some great news!  On Tuesday, Chairman Nick Rahall (D-WV) of the House Natural Resources Committee introduced energy reform legislation (H.R. 3534) which includes a provision to fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF).  LWCF funds acquisition of federal park, forest, wildlife refuge and other public lands and matches state funding for park acquisition and development.  If enacted, this language would provide $900 million for LWCF, a five-fold increase over last year’s appropriations--and this bill could be our best opportunity to secure full funding since the late 1990s.  The funding would be evenly split between federal acquisition and the states.

A LWCF coalition is organizing sign-on letters in key states and we've already shared these letters with ADVOCATES in ten states whose Representatives are on the Natural Resources Committee, and may be asked to vote on this issue soon.  Stay tuned for more details on this exciting opportunity.


Tell Your Landowners about Conservation Stewardship Program Enrollment

The 2008 Farm Bill included some big changes to CSP, now the Conservation Stewardship Program, allowing agricultural producers nationwide to apply for payments based on the conservation benefit of both their current practices and additional activities.  This program may enable farmers and ranchers you work with to receive up to $40,000 a year for being good stewards of their land.

While CSP enrollment continues all year, the first deadline for applications is September 30 and is expected to have fewer applicants than subsequent periods, significantly increasing the acceptance rate.  Letting your landowners know about this program now is a great way to help them remain viable and enhance the conservation benefits of your work. Click here for more information about CSP from the Natural Resources Conservation Service.


Important Reminder on Substantiation Letters

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 H.R. 1831 & S. 812 Co-sponsors Added Over Recess

  • Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA/1st)
  • Rep. Ken Calvert (R-CA/44th)
  • Rep. Wm. Lacy Clay (D-MO/1st)
  • Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD/7th)
  • Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR/4th)
  • Rep. Michael Doyle (D-PA/14th)
  • Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ/2nd)
  • Rep. Dutch Ruppersburger (D-MD/2nd)
  • Rep. Linda Sanchez (D-CA/39th)*
  • Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD/3rd)
  • Rep. Robert Wexler (D-FL/19th)
  • Rep. Charlie Wilson (D-OH/6th)
  • Rep. Don Young (R-AK/At-large)
  • Senator Jeff Bingaman (D-NM)*
  • Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT)

*Members of the House Ways & Means or Senate Finance Committees

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Advocates Alerts

February 12: The House successfully voted 279-137, demonstrating a supermajority (67%) of support, on H.R. 644, a package of charitable incentives including the conservation tax incentive.Now we need your help in the Senate to secure co-sponsors! Sens. Heller and Stabenow have requested land trusts’ assistance in asking senators to cosponsor S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. Learn more »

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