WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Congress passed an omnibus appropriations bill that includes language that mirrors the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act, first introduced by Sens. Steve Daines of Montana, Debbie Stabenow of Michigan and Chuck Grassley of Iowa, along with Reps. Mike Thompson of California and Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania. The following statement on passage can be attributed to Andrew Bowman, president and CEO of the Land Trust Alliance:
The Land Trust Alliance, on behalf of its approximately 950 member land trusts, applauds today’s passage of the Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act and recognizes the work of a bipartisan group of congressional leaders, including Sens. Steve Daines, Chuck Grassley, Debbie Stabenow and Ron Wyden, and Reps. Mike Thompson and Mike Kelly, for ensuring the inclusion of this important legislation in the omnibus appropriations bill.
The federal conservation easement tax incentive, made permanent by Congress in 2015, has helped thousands of Americans voluntarily conserve millions of acres of their own land for the benefit of their communities and the nation. Sens. Daines, Grassley, Stabenow and Wyden, and Reps. Thompson and Kelly, have been steadfast in their commitment to stopping abuse of this incentive and restoring its integrity, and today’s vote is the result of their perseverance.
In spite of federal efforts to stop abusive syndicated conservation easement transactions during the past decade, they have continued and cost taxpayers billions of dollars. It has been clear for years that Congress alone had the power to stop bad actors by enacting sensible, narrowly targeted legislation that would end the abuse and protect an invaluable conservation tool. Today, Congress exercised that power and, in the process, preserved the integrity of our tax laws and protected those who work tirelessly and ethically to conserve our country’s irreplaceable working and natural lands.
The Land Trust Alliance is proud to represent its 950 member land trust that have pledged to follow ethical and legal standards and practices for conservation and who join us today in celebrating the end of blatant abuse of the federal tax incentive for conservation easements.
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 nearly 1,000 member land trusts supported by more than 250,000 volunteers and 6.3 million members nationwide. The Alliance is based in Washington, D.C., and operates several regional offices. More information about the Alliance is available at www.landtrustalliance.org.