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Sign-on to Defend Natural Resources Funding

Advocates Alert: June 14, 2011

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Please sign-on by Friday, June 17.

These alerts generally focus on the nuances of conservation policy, where a handful of phone calls can have the greatest impact, but today we urgently need your help on the big picture.

Natural resources budgets -- including many programs land trusts rely on -- are under assault. Our efforts to defend appropriations for specific programs like FRPP, GRP, NAWCA, LWCF and Forest Legacy depend on the outcome of the current negotiations over the debt limit -- which may well specify spending cuts over the entire federal budget.

The recent House budget resolution calls for a 46 percent cut to natural resource spending by 2016.  If similar cuts are included in a final deal by the debt limit negotiators, we will have a very hard time maintaining the programs singled out above.

We all need to be involved in making the broad case for important natural resource investments by the federal government.  Please review a broad coalition letter urging the debt limit negotiators to spare natural resources funding.  We urge you to sign your organization on to this letter by visiting http://goo.gl/rppsN and following the easy sign-on instructions.  Please forward this alert to other conservation-minded organizations and businesses in your community and urge them to sign as well.

Specifically, this letter supports protecting "Function 300," a broad category of federal spending on natural resources and environment.  Function 300 covers environmental and natural resources spending by the departments of Agriculture, Commerce, Interior, Transportation, the Army Corps of Engineers, and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  Function 300 does not include farm subsidy programs.  Over the past thirty years, as total federal expenditures have more than doubled, spending for Function 300 programs has grown just two percent, far less than needed to keep pace with inflation. And yet, we've made immense progress -- think of everything we've accomplished thanks to the Conservation Title of the Farm Bill, the Land and Water Conservation Fund and dozens of other important natural resource conservation and development programs.

Disproportionate cuts to these investments in conservation will permanently harm our natural heritage and the economy, without substantially improving the fiscal picture, as these programs amount to just 1.26 percent of the federal budget. Please help us make this case to key decision makers!

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Please sign-on by Friday, June 17, forward this alert to your partners, and expect more letters on this subject in the weeks ahead.

Senate LWCF/Forest Legacy Letter -- Deadline Extended

We also need help persuading your Senators to sign a letter that seeks to maximize funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund and Forest Legacy Program in fiscal year 2012. Last year's letter was signed by 44 Senators, so our current total of 26 signers is far short of where we need to be.

Fortunately, the deadline has been extended until 10:00 am eastern on Thursday, June 16. Click here for a list of Senators who have already signed-on, and those who signed in previous years. Please call your Senators today (Switchboard: 202-224-3121), ask to speak with their natural resources staffer, thank them if they signed in the past and urge them to sign-on, following instructions in the letter. Learn more about LWCF and Forest Legacy.

Thanks for helping!

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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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