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Remarks from Ways & Means Markup 5-29-14

Quotes from W&M Mark Up

On May 29, the House Ways & Means Committee voted to send H.R. 2807, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, out of committee and to the House floor. Below are quotes and testimony about the need to make the easement incentive permanent, and the importance it has in members' districts. Click a representative's name to see a video clip.

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA)

  • [The conservation act] “ is simple, straightforward legislation that would make permanent the easement tax incentive” 52:03-52:06
  • “The conservation easement is a proven effective and important tool that allows property owners the ability to retire development rights on their land to conserve significant natural resources, protect clean water and preserve wild habitat and safeguard farmland working forests” 52:44-53:00
  • “Mr. Chairman, the conservation easement tax credit works. Before expiring at the end of 2013, modest income property owners, family farms and other land owners utilize this incentive to voluntarily protect millions of acres of land across the country ” 53:05-53:25
  • “This legislation is a bipartisan solution to provide property owners with the freedom, opportunity and certainty they deserve when making critical choices about the use and future of their land.” 54:05-54:16

More Rep. Gerlach:

“It is very difficult to have continuity in those efforts to preserve valuable habitat, valuable farmland, year after year… when you have this fluctuation in tax policy” 1:08:19

“The value of this legislation… is the permanence of the policy…. All those organizations and people who are interested in conserving land in their communities are going to have the green light to work every day together to allow a lot of good projects to move forward  ” 1:09:30-1:09:57

Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA)

  • “A lot of people benefit… look no further than New York City. Their watershed is under terrible pressure and it was through conservation easements that we were able to protect the water of the citizens of New York, so passing this bill is the right thing to do.” BUT “we need to pay for this bill” 58:56-59:23


Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA)

  • Chairman: “This has been extended four times.” Neal: “My sense is that it will probably get to five fairly quickly” 1:03:24-1:03:26
  • “The dispute here is not over the policy outcome or the substance of the proposal; by in large we are all for it. It is a worthwhile undertaking. The dispute we have this morning is, very simply, that we are here because we could not proceed with tax reform, so now we are to argue about the likelihood of this becoming permanent. Everybody seated here today knows that there is very little prospect of this becoming permanent. We are going to do something after the election” 1:10:55-1:11:22


Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI)

  • “On appropriate policies, we should try to make them permanent” 1:04:22-1:04:27
  • “A charitable contribution, particularly a conservation easement, is to the greater good and the environment… it is not just to the individual taxpayer, but it is to society as a whole to preserve fragile land and watersheds and other areas”
  • Becerra “Mr. Chairman I agree with you. I think I’ve been a sponsor of this provision myself.”1:26:21- 1:26:59



Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI) and Rep. Ron Kind (D-WI)

  • “The conservation provision is important, and no one is denying that BUT to say here, contrary to what was done in your proposal, that were going to make it permanent and not pay for it is I think not only inconsistent, but irresponsible. So let’s not say we don’t care about this, we deeply care about this. We also care about how it’s done” 1:13:55-1:14:30

Rep. Kind:

  • “Mr. Chairmen, you get no argument from me as far the policy implications of trying to do permanency in the code. I am with you %110 on that. But where you lose me is the inconsistency in the argument of a budget resolution and then the unpaid for aspect today and the implications that is going to have not just within the first ten years, but the second, third and fourth ten years beyond that” 1:20:57-1:21:22


Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA)

  • “The program of conservation easements is an important program.  It does have wide bipartisan support…. It’s important and it’s important to everybody. Not only to those individuals that get the specific benefit, the monetary benefits, but the societal benefits are important” 1:28:26-1:29:07
  • “I’ve seen it work. I’ve been on the ground. I’ve stood on farms and ranches that are still in existences today because of conservation easements. The pressure from development would have otherwise taken them right out of the community and that’s not only bad for family farming, but it is also bad for the communities in which those farms and ranches are located.” 1:29:15-1:29:50

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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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