Land Trust Alliance Cheers U.S. House Passage of America Gives More Act of 2015

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Legislation Supporting Land Conservation Moves to U.S. Senate

Land Trust Alliance logo

Land Trust Alliance logo

Federal lawmakers made clear today they share our firm belief that land conservation is good for America and Americans.

The Land Trust Alliance, a national land conservation organization working to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America, today applauded the U.S. House of Representatives vote to pass the America Gives More Act of 2015 (H.R. 644). The bill, which contained a key incentive for land conservation, passed 279-137, reflecting 67% support.

The America Gives More Act includes the Conservation Easement Incentive Act (H.R. 641), a bill championed by Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) to make permanent a crucial tax incentive encouraging landowners to place conservation easements on their land to protect important agriculture, natural and scenic resources. The bill now moves to the U.S. Senate, where Sens. Dean Heller (R-NV) and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) earlier this month introduced an identical version of the Conservation Easement Incentive Act (S. 330).

“Federal lawmakers made clear today they share our firm belief that land conservation is good for America and Americans,” said Rand Wentworth, the Alliance’s president. “As we work with our Senate allies to advance this bipartisan bill, we will continue to emphasize the value of keeping working lands in working hands. The land heritage we share with America’s farmers, ranchers and foresters – and the land heritage we wish to pass on to our children – must be conserved.”

The highly effective easement incentive, in law since 2006, expired Jan. 1. The Alliance, its members and allies strove in late 2014 to make that incentive permanent in a bill very similar to the one that passed today. The 2014 bill fell short of the two-thirds support it needed from voting members to meet a procedural requirement. The final vote was 275-149, reflecting 65% support.

The Obama administration supported making the easement incentive permanent in its fiscal year 2016 budget request and the incentive has had strong bipartisan support. Legislation to make the incentive permanent, introduced earlier this month by Kelly and Rep. Mike Thompson (D-CA), has previously been cosponsored or voted for by more than 400 sitting members of Congress.

The America Gives More Act additionally includes tax incentives for food donations, facilitates donations from IRA accounts in certain circumstances and simplifies taxes on foundations. The legislation is strongly supported by a broad spectrum of charitable organizations, including Feeding America, Independent Sector, United Way Worldwide, YMCA of the USA and others.

About the Land Trust Alliance

Founded in 1982, the Land Trust Alliance is a national land conservation organization that works to save the places people need and love by strengthening land conservation across America. The Alliance represents 1,200 member land trusts supported by more than 5 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at http://www.landtrustalliance.org.

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Joshua Lynsen