Thursday, July 30, 2015

Open-space incentives

A bill introduced in Congress last week would permanently secure incentives for landowners who choose conservation over development. It was applauded by area preservationists.

Open-space incentives

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The Conservation Easement Incentive Act - H.R. 1964 - would make permanent an incentive that gives landowners tax relief for protecting their natural resources. Although the owners forgo their right to develop the land, they maintain its management and can bequeath it to their heirs. The bill  was introduced last week by Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.) and Rep. MIke Thompson (D., Ca.) with 250 co-sponsors.

"Each time a landowner chooses to donate a conservation easement on their land, they are making an extraordinary gift to us all - one that protects our communities and environment," said Molly Morrison, president of Natural Lands Trust.

A survey by the Land Trust Alliance, a national nonprofit, showed that the current incentives, set to expire at the end of the year, increased conservation across the country by a third to over a million acres a year.

"We are very grateful for all of the support from many members of our local Congressional delegation for this critical tax incentive for land preservation," said Sherri Evans-Stanton, director of the Brandywine Conservancy's Environmental Management Center.

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About this blog
Aubrey Whelan covers Chester County for the Inquirer. A native of a Philadelphia suburb so small it doesn't have a zip code, she grew up reading the Inquirer and was thrilled to take a job there in fall 2012. Previously, she covered crime, courts and D.C.'s Occupy movement for the Washington Examiner. Aubrey graduated from Penn State in 2011, where she worked for the award-winning campus newspaper and majored in journalism and French. Contact her at 215-495-5855 or awhelan@philly.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/aubreyjwhelan.

Aubrey Whelan
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