One Thing Congress Agrees On: Land Conservation

Conservancy praises bipartisan land bill

February 21, 2012 – The Radnor Conservancy voiced enthusiasm today for a bill introduced by Rep. Jim Gerlach (R., Pa.) that will make permanent a tax incentive that helps landowners conserve important natural, agricultural and historic resources.

The legislation has received bipartisan support from Congress with more than 300 co-sponsors from both parties for “The Conservation Easement Incentive Act” (H.R. 1964). Allof the conservation easements held by the Radnor Conservancy have been donated by landowners, who may have benefited from similar tax incentives, a news release from the Conservancy said. “Jim Gerlach understands the critical importance of protected open space and its value to our local communities. We are grateful for his leadership in sponsoring this bill and appreciate all of the other co-sponsors from Pennsylvania,” said Sara Lupkas, Chief Operating Officer of the Radnor Conservancy.

Of the thousands of bills introduced in the U.S. House during the current session, fewer than 10 have garnered 300 or more co-sponsors, the release said. “This legislation has generated tremendous bipartisan support because the conservation easement tax credit works,” Gerlach said in the release. “The tax credit gives family farmers, ranchers and other property owners more choices and creates opportunities for partnerships between non-profit organizations, federal, state and local officials.”

Under the legislation, landowners can retire the development rights on their land by donating a conservation easement to a land trust like the Radnor Conservancy, protecting important natural resources, and conserving the area’s scenic and historic heritage. Since the incentive expired at the end of 2011, landowners with modest incomes now receive little tax benefit from restricting what may be their family’s most valuable asset, the release said.

The Radnor Conservancy is a local 501(c) dedicated to the protection of open space and preservation of the important natural, cultural and historic assets of Radnor Township. Preserving open space helps to maintain the environmental health and quality of life in our community.  For more information about H.R. 1964 or the Radnor Conservancy, please visit http://www.landtrustalliance.org/policy/tax-matters/campaigns/cosponsors or contact Radnor.conservancy@comcast.net or 610-688-8202.

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