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Use the Grassroots Toolkit to Spread the Word about the Easement Incentive

Advocates Alert: June 20, 2008

Thanks to your hard work, we have two more years to prove just how effective the conservation tax incentive can be.

But there's no time to waste! To make the easement incentive permanent, it's absolutely essential that we accomplish two things:

  • First, we need to spread the word so landowners use the incentive in large numbers--protecting special places in every Congressional district around the country.
  • Second, Members of Congress need to hear about your successes, not just from you, but from easement donors, local officials, the press and from first-hand visits to the places you've protected.

How You Can Help:

This week, we released a completely revamped "grassroots toolkit" to help you accomplish these things.

The toolkit at www.lta.org/policy/policy-toolkit includes:

  • Outreach tools like a sample press release, newsletter article and op-ed to accomplish the dual goals of letting landowners know about this opportunity and publicly thanking Congress for renewing the incentive
  • Sample thank you letters to Congress: one from your organization and a template letter you can provide for each easement donor to tell Congress about why their land is special and how the incentive made a difference.
  • Advice and materials for hosting a "public education forum" to spread the word to potential easement donors. Invite your Representative to co-host such an event over the August Recess (Aug 9-Sept 7).
  • We're also working on a new brochure that lays out the basics of the incentive for landowners and their advisors. These will be available for you to order in a few weeks.

The upcoming Independence Day (Jun 28-Jul 6) and August (Aug 9-Sept 7) recesses are opportunities for your land trust to solidify working relationships with your Members of Congress. If they're already cosponsors of H.R. 1676 or S. 469 please thank them and give them an opportunity to take credit for making this happen. If they haven't cosponsored, there's no better place to ask than on the front porch of an easement donor. Either way, today is a great day to pick up the phone and ask them out into the field. Click here for ideas.

Legislative update:
If you read the footnote on our previous alert, you saw there was some lingering confusion over the constitutionality of how the Farm Bill was enacted with one section missing. On Wednesday, Congress cleared up any remaining doubt by overriding a Presidential veto of a second version of the Farm Bill (H.R. 6124) containing all 15 titles. This was mainly done as an "insurance policy" against future legal challenges and no substantive changes were made.

Thanks again for everything you did to make this extension a reality!

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Advocates Alerts

June 12: In Historic First, Conservation Tax Incentive Approved by Committee

We are one step closer to making the incentive permanent, but we now need to convince House leadership that this is a priority for their members and should be brought to the floor for a vote ASAP. Please consider signing your land trust onto this letter by Independent Sector asking all members of the House to vote for the conservation tax incentive and two other charitable provisions.
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