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Land Trust Alliance Presidential Transition Recommendations

December 8, 2008

High Leverage Tools to Strengthen Land Conservation across America


The Land Trust Alliance has 1,200 member organizations, each of which is a publicly-supported charity dedicated to land conservation.  Most of these land trusts operate locally, but they include statewide organizations and national organizations such as The Nature Conservancy, The Trust for Public Land, The Conservation Fund, and others.  Together, land trusts have conserved more than 40 million acres across America, often in partnership with local, state or federal agencies.

We work with our member organizations on three fronts.  We work to accelerate the pace of conservation, by creating new tools and funding for land conservation.  We increase the quality of conservation, by building the skills, knowledge, and sustainability of land trusts, their staff, and their volunteers.  We work to ensure the permanence of conservation by creating resources to defend protected land over time.

The Alliance is looking at the following legislative priorities in 2009:

  1. Making the enhanced tax deduction for the donation (or bargain sale) of conservation easements a permanent part of the tax law;
  2. Creating a greater incentive for land conservation in the context of estate tax reform; and,
  3. Seeing that policy responses to global climate change recognize the important role of forests, rangelands and agricultural lands in mitigating climate change.

The Alliance believes that the Administration has key opportunities to advance land conservation, including (click on each item for details):

  1. We urge the Administration to champion tax incentives for private land conservation
  2. We urge the Administration to recast land conservation as an important element in addressing climate change;
  3. We urge the Administration to take leadership on gathering the data needed to track the effects of conservation – and development – on our climate;
  4. We urge the Administration to create new emphasis and funding for partnerships with conservation nonprofits and state and local governments in land conservation; and,
  5. We urge the Administration to provide the leadership needed to reinvigorate the Land and Water Conservation Fund.


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Advocates Alerts

July 17: The House just voted 277-130 to pass the charities package! 56 Democrats joined their Republican colleagues to support charitable giving incentives, including the enhanced easement incentive - the second-highest number of defections after the research and development tax credit. Several others spoke on the floor in support of the conservation easement incentive, and other favorable charitable incentives. Thank you to organizations like Ducks Unlimited, CSF and others that reached out to Congressional offices over the last few days or alerted their membership of this important vote. Now, we pivot to the Senate.
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