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Tax Incentive Letter, Strong Year for Appropriations

Advocates Alert: November 3, 2009

30 Signers So Far on Land Conservation Caucus Tax Incentive Letter

Congressional support for H.R. 1831 just keeps growing. Thanks to your hard work, we're now up to 256 co-sponsors!*  But today we need your help sending a message about the urgency of making the incentive permanent this year.

As we announced last week, the co-chairs of the House Land Conservation Caucus are gathering signatures on a new letter urging House Leadership to prioritize making the easement incentive permanent this year.  There are 30 signers thus far, but odds are, we still need help getting your Representative to sign-on. View the current list of signers and step-by-step instructions for asking your Rep. to sign.

UPDATE: Rep. Chris Murphy has announced that the signing deadline for this letter will be Friday, November 13!

Appropriations Bills Signed Into Law with Big Gains for Conservation

On Friday, President Obama signed into law a Fiscal Year 2010 Interior and Environment Appropriations bill that provides an overall boost of 17% over 2009 levels!  That comes on the heels of an Agriculture Appropriations bill which fully funds the increases to easement programs approved in last year's Farm Bill. Here are some highlights:

  • Federal Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) will receive $278 million, an increase of $126m or 82% over last year.  Click here for a chart from The Nature Conservancy listing amounts for specific federal acquisitions.
  • State-side LWCF will double to $40 million!  Together, state and federal LWCF have doubled from FY 2008 levels to $318m. This year's budget lumps LWCF with Forest Legacy and the Cooperative Endangered Species Fund for a total of $453m, even more than the $432m promised in the President's request.
  • Forest Legacy will receive $79.5m, a 60% increase over last year's funding level.
  • The North American Wetlands Conservation Act will receive $47.6m an increase of $5m from last year.
  • State Wildlife Grants will receive $90m, an increase of $15m from last year, but less than the President's budget request.
  • Farm Bill Conservation Programs: In perhaps the most significant change from the President's Budget, Congress removed caps on spending for all farm bill conservation programs except EQUIP.   As such, the Farm and Ranchland Protection Program will grow to $150m as prescribed in the 2008 Farm Bill, an increase of $29m from last year. The Grasslands Reserve Program and Wetlands Reserve Program may continue towards their acreage caps with no limit on spending.

For more information on these programs, please visit our conservation funding page or Trust for Public Land's federal programs page.

Thanks for helping!

*H.R. 1831 and S. 812 Co-sponsors Added Since Last Update:

  • Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX/26th)
  • Rep. Steve King (R-IA/5th)
  • Rep. Dan Maffei (D-NY/25th)
  • Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX/2nd)
  • Senator Michael Bennet (D-CO)
  • Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Click here for the full list.

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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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