President and Key Congressional Members Support Tax Incentives for Land Conservation

Proposed bipartisan legislation in Congress would help

Washington, D.C. – February 2, 2007 - President Bush recently announced his proposed 2008 budget would include funding for tax incentives that promote voluntary land conservation. Last August, he signed into law a provision that expanded federal tax incentives for landowners to conserve their land.

That law raised the deductions landowners can take from 30 percent of their income to 50 percent or 100 percent for qualifying ranchers and farmers. The law also extended the carry-forward period for the conservation easement donor from five years to 15 years. Unfortunately, these expanded tax incentives are set to expire at the end of this year.

In his budget proposal, President Bush will recommend a permanent extension of these tax incentives. This move is another significant step toward a commitment to create, improve and protect at least three million acres of wetlands between Earth Day 2004 and 2009. 

Notably, Senator Max Baucus (Mont.), the Chairman of the Senate’s tax panel, recently introduced the Rural Heritage Conservation Extension Act of 2007. This legislation would provide for the permanent extension of the conservation tax incentives that were enacted last August. Senator Baucus is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. He has a long history of supporting conservation issues that are important for migratory birds. Senator Charles Grassley (Iowa), who is the senior Republican on the committee, joined in sponsoring the bill. 

“This is great news for conservation to have both the president, as well as the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee both pushing in the same direction,” said Scott Sutherland director of Ducks Unlimited’s Governmental Affairs Office.

DU has worked with a coalition of conservation groups for more than four years on this critical issue.

“The stars are aligning, and if this bipartisan effort continues, these conservation tax incentives could become permanent this year,” Sutherland said.

Contact: Neil Shader
DU Conservation Policy Specialist

With more than a million supporters, Ducks Unlimited is the world’s largest and most effective wetland and waterfowl conservation organization with almost 12 million acres conserved. The United States alone has lost more than half of its original wetlands - nature’s most productive ecosystem - and continues to lose more than 80,000 wetland acres each year.