Historic Conservation Easement Legislation Passes
For those who love the great outdoors, the holidays have come a week early this year. Instead of a new pair of hiking boots, Santa brought a bipartisan budget deal, which includes a provision that will drive over $1 billion in private lands conservation over the next ten years.
With tremendous bipartisan support, Congress has finally made permanent an incentive for conservation easements, encouraging land owners to preserve their land in perpetuity. The incentive advanced through Congress as part of the America Gives More Act, a package of incentives to encourage charitable giving. The White House issued a formal endorsement of the tax and spending bills, specifically citing the tax incentives for charities as one reason for supporting the package.
The Land Trust Alliance has been seeking permanency for this incentive for a over decade, and we know it will have a major impact on the future of conservation. First enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the incentive is directly responsible for conserving millions of acres of America’s open spaces and natural heritage.
This agreement is the most important conservation legislation in 20 years. The strong bi-partisan support also showcases our national commitment to natural lands and the preservation of open spaces.
The Conservation Easement Incentive Act is the result of years of hard work and advocacy from passionate people around the country, and the Alliance extends our gratitude to those who have championed this incentive. We could not have accomplished this without committed supporters like Louis Bacon and The Moore Charitable Foundation.
This triumph has come at the perfect time, as I prepare to embark on a new career after 13 incredible years at the Alliance. I have been blessed to work with so many talented individuals who have changed the face of conservation in this country. While there is a great deal to celebrate in today’s victory, there is still much to be done in order to protect our precious lands for those to come.
I hope you will join me in supporting the Land Trust Alliance for all it does to protect the places people love and need across America.
Mary Pope Hutson, who served as the Executive Vice President of The Land Trust Alliance will assume the role of Vice President for Alumnae relations and Development at Sweet Briar College in January.