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Bipartisan bill encourages protection of privately owned lands 

  • Rep. Mike Thompson (CA) speaks at the Land Trust Alliance (LTA) press conference to announce the introduction of the Conservation Tax Easement Incentive Act. Also pictured are LTA President Rand Wentworth and Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA).
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Lead co-sponsors Reps. Jim Gerlach (PA) and Mike Thompson (CA) introduced a bipartisan bill in July to provide permanent tax incentives for conservation easements (H.R. 2807).

Ducks Unlimited Governmental Affairs Director Gary Taylor participated in a press conference to announce the bill introduction.
The Conservation Easement Incentive Act of 2013 helps conserve our nation’s land by providing permanent tax incentives to farmers, ranchers and landowners who choose to enroll in a conservation easement, allowing them to continue to manage and work their land while preserving it from being developed.

“Approximately two-thirds of our nation’s lands, including millions of acres of wildlife habitat, are privately owned. Conservation easements incentivize good land stewardship while allowing landowners to maintain ownership and keep working their land,” said DU CEO Dale Hall. “Conservation easements are one of the most powerful and effective tools in preventing key habitat from being lost to development, and we thank Representatives Gerlach and Thompson for their leadership. Permanent tax incentives for conservation easements will make it more affordable for more private landowners to protect essential wetlands habitat for waterfowl, other wildlife and all of our citizens.”

The bill is broadly supported and has a total of 138 co-sponsors, including Gerlach and Thompson.

“Whether you are a farmer looking to preserve land that's been in your family for generations or a local land trust forging community partnerships to protect natural resources, this legislation gives you greater freedom to make critical choices about future land use,” Gerlach said. “Our effort to make the conservation easement tax incentive permanent has generated bipartisan support because it makes sense. I look forward to continue working with Congressman Thompson and my colleagues in the House to provide certainty and ensure that conservation easements remain an option for all property owners in the future.” 

“Conservation easements work. They’ve already encouraged landowners to conserve millions of acres of farm lands and scenic open spaces, but there’s more we can do,” Thompson said. “By making this important conservation tool permanent, our bill will give landowners the certainty they need to preserve and protect even more land and natural resources for future generations.”

A similar bill, the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act of 2013 (S. 526), was introduced in the Senate by Sen. Max Baucus (MT). It currently has a total of 13 co-sponsors


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