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Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 14, 2008

Contact:
Kieran Roe,
Executive Director
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
(828) 697-5777

Congressman Schuler Co-Sponsors Bill HR 1576 to Help Local Land Conservation


Hendersonville, NC – The Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy (CMLC) recently thanked U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, (Dem./NC) for cosponsoring legislation to provide tax incentives that help landowners conserve important lands for the future.  That legislation, H.R. 1576, makes permanent a tax incentive that will otherwise have expired on December 31, 2007. The expiring incentive, which particularly helps agricultural and other modest-income landowners, allows them to take a higher percentage of their income as a deduction over a longer period of time for retiring development rights to their land to protect it for the future.

“We are very grateful to Rep. Shuler for his leadership on this issue,” said Kieran Roe the land trust’s Executive Director.“ This legislation will be of great help to our mission of protecting our region of western North Carolina for the benefit of all of us who live here.”

“Conservation is important to all of us,” said Rep. Shuler.  “I was glad to help support Western North Carolina’s landowners who want to protect resources important to our community. I look forward to continuing to work with CMLC and other groups focused on preserving our land and heritage.”

Conservation donations to the Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy greatly increased this past year because of the new federal incentive, which began in August 2006.  CMLC protected 2,400 acres at 20 sites in 2007, the greatest number of projects the organization has completed in any one year since it was formed in 1994.  Highlights included protection of 545 acres of forest along the South Carolina line near the Green River in southeast Henderson County, and protection of the 318-acre Deep Woods summer camp for boys in Transylvania County.

According to the Land Trust Alliance, which works on conservation issues in Washington, DC, the Senate has passed a Farm Bill that includes a provision making the new tax incentive for conservation donations permanent. A final bill will require a House-Senate conference in coming weeks. If the conference approves the Senate provision, the enhanced benefits will be made retroactive to January 1 of 2008. The legislation is supported by American Farm Bureau Federation, National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, Ducks Unlimited, The Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, the Association of Fish and Wildlife Agencies, and many conservation organizations.

About Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy
Carolina Mountain Land Conservancy helps landowners protect local land and water resources vital to our natural heritage and quality of life. As a local nonprofit organization dedicated to saving the places you love, CMLC is helping to create a regional network of more than 16,500 acres of protected farm, forest, park and natural lands. To become a member or learn about other ways to support CMLC, visit www.carolinamountain.org or call 828-697-5777.

CMLC’s successful year of conservation in 2007 helps achieve the vision of Blue Ridge Forever, a five-year campaign with an initial goal of protecting 50,000 acres by 2010 in the Southern Blue Ridge Mountains. CMLC is a partner of Blue Ridge Forever, a region-wide conservation effort of 13 land conservation organizations in Western North Carolina.

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November 6: With only eight weeks remaining before Congress adjourns (of which Congress will be in Washington for only four), there is limited time to act. Ask your senators to urge their party’s leadership to include the charitable package in any year-end tax legislation. We’ve been meeting with Senate offices and have been encouraged by their willingness to consider making some tax extenders permanent. This puts us in a good position, but we need you to reinforce that special places are being lost because the incentive has expired. Learn more »

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