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.