The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation considers the Conservation Easement Incentive Act (H.R. 2807) of vital importance for conservation, elk and elk country. It is scheduled to come to the House floor for a vote this week as part of a larger charities package.
First passed in 2006, the easement tax incentive has since led to the conservation of roughly one million acres per year by the nation’s 1,700 community-based land trusts including RMEF.
- Through a limited tax deduction, landowners are able to place their most prized assets – historical sites, forests, family farms and ranches – in protected easements to ensure a legacy of natural abundance, enjoyment and agricultural production for future generations.
- Land placed in easements can be farmed, grazed, hunted or used for recreation and the conservation of natural resources. It can also be passed on to heirs or sold but the land is kept safe from future development.
- Valuable open spaces or farmland can be protected by an easement for a fraction of the cost of buying it, making easements by far the most cost-effective approach to land conservation. For example, federal acquisition of land costs taxpayers roughly $12,000 an acre compared to just $400 an acre for an easement.
- The enhanced incentive expired last year, and conservation easement enrollments are expected to plunge by at least 300,000 acres per year, or roughly one-third.
This program expired several times since its first passage. This vote provides the opportunity to make it permanent. You can reach your representative by calling the House switchboard at 202-225-3121.
View a text of the bill here.
Making the enhanced incentive permanent is about ensuring a legacy. Please call your representatives to ask them to support this worthy legislation. Thank you for your consideration.