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Rally Deadline Tomorrow; Last Best Chance to Get Co-sponsors?

Advocates Alert: September 11, 2012

With deadlines looming, we wanted to share a few key reminders…

Rally 2012 Pre-Registration Closes Wednesday

UPDATE: While pre-registration has ended, on-site registrations are always welcome and there's still plenty of space in our advocacy seminar.

With two dozen opportunities to learn about policy and more than 100 other sessions to help you run a successful land trust, you don't want to miss Rally 2012: The National Land Conservation Conference, in Salt Lake City, UT, September 29 - October 2. Many Advocates are signing up for Seminar 13: Advocating for Conservation, a key opportunity to hone your skills for outreach to public officials and the media. Click here to register.

Congress Eager to Leave Town -- Seek Co-sponsors Now

9/13/12 UPDATE: Senators Mark Pryor (D-AR) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) just co-sponsored S. 339, bringing the total to 24 senators, but that means all others still need follow-up.

It turns out the House may adjourn until after the election as soon as Friday, and the Senate may follow sometime next week. That means the next few days may be our last best chance to secure co-sponsors for S. 339 and H.R. 1964, our bills to make the enhanced easement incentive permanent.

Whatever follow-up you've done up to this point, whatever assurances you've received, it's now or never for follow-up to potential co-sponsors. Yes, technically co-sponsors could be added when Congress returns after the election, but we need the momentum of an expanded co-sponsor list now to get a renewal of the incentive onto Congress' year-end agenda.

Please call today, and let us know what you hear back so we can follow-up!

6-Month Funding Bill Boosts Most Programs -- Except for Ag Easements

The House and Senate appear poised to agree to a truce on federal funding for Fiscal Year 2013. This action averts a potential shutdown and takes one big item off their crowded year-end agenda.

There's good news for most programs, including the Land and Water Conservation Fund, Forest Legacy, and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act. They'll see a 0.6 percent increase over their Fiscal Year 2012 levels (shown here).

The picture is murkier for Farm Bill programs. The Grassland Reserve Program (GRP) and Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) would lack spending authority beyond September 30 and be closed to new enrollments. The funding bill would also repeat this year's Farm and Ranch Lands Protection Program (FRPP) cut to $150 m, below the $200 m promised by the 2008 Farm Bill. These cuts could potentially reduce the Farm Bill "baseline," forcing a re-negotiation of the new Farm Bill if passage is delayed.

For better or worse, Congress could still tinker with these numbers in the post-election session, and the automatic "sequestration" mandated under last year's budget deal (a 7.6% cut, read more here) is scheduled to kick in on January first. We will keep you posted...

See you in Salt Lake City!

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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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