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Farm Bill Fight at Critical Juncture, New Conservation Funding Letter Needs Your Help

Advocates Alert: March 7, 2008

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) is still pushing to have a permanent extension of the enhanced tax incentive for conservation easements (section 12203 of the Senate's version of the Farm Bill) included in the final House-Senate "conference report." House leaders are saying no. Their reasons are complicated, procedural and political. The only way we can overcome them is to have Members of Congress convince their leadership that the easement incentive is important enough to set these objections aside.

This is a critically important juncture for our campaign . The Farm Bill is our best opportunity to move the tax incentive forward this year and the key decisions on that bill will be made in the next few weeks.  A personal call from your Representative to Speaker Pelosi or other key leaders could mean the difference between winning or losing the easement incentive.

Help Orchestrate Personal Calls to House Leadership
At this point, it will take a personal call from your Representative to key leaders of the House to make a difference on the Farm Bill. Please think about who on your board or in your community can best reach your Representative directly and ask them to make such a call. You may also have a chance to raise this with your Representative in person while they are back home for the Congressional Easter Recess, March 17-28.

Ask Democrats to call:

  • Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA)
  • House Ways & Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel (D-NY)

Ask Republicans to call:

  • House Ways & Means Committee Ranking Member Jim McCrery (R-LA)
  • House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)

Messages we need your Representative to convey:

  • The tax incentive for conservation easements that Senator Baucus is trying to get into the Farm Bill is very important to landowners and conservationists in my district.
  • It is extremely important to get this done in the Farm Bill.

If you already asked your Representative to do this, please follow-up—and be sure to tell them that even though House leaders are saying “no,” this issue isn't decided yet.

Click here for a fact sheet with more details.

Ask Your Representative to Support LWCF & Forest Legacy

Congressmen Tom Allen (D-ME) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) are circulating a Congressional sign-on letter urging the Interior Appropriations Subcommittee to provide $278 million for the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), $120 million for the LWCF state grants program, and $120 million for the Forest Legacy Program in fiscal year 2009. These programs have historically been the most significant federal sources of funding to support land conservation and your Representative's signature will help us ensure these programs continue to succeed.

This is a relatively easy ask; here's what to do:

  • Call your Representative (Switchboard: 202-224-3121) and ask to speak to the staffer who handles Interior Appropriations.
  • Tell them how important LWCF and Forest Legacy are to your organization and to conservation in your state (mention specific projects if possible).
  • Urge them to sign the Allen-Gerlach letter by calling Jim Bradley in Rep. Allen's office (5-6116) or Laura Carrel in Rep. Gerlach's office (5-4315) no later than Wednesday, March 12.
  • Click here for a copy of the letter you can forward to them upon request.


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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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