Unfortunately, Congress recently released a report that recommends eliminating tax benefits for Americans who support conservation directly by donating land or providing easements for conservation. Easements have made it possible for Americans to protect 34 million acres at much less cost than any other method.

Our government should be encouraging land owners to support conservation, not discouraging them! We need your help to protect these tax benefits that encourage Americans to conserve their land.

Click here to send a free fax to Senator Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) urging them to protect our natural heritage by preserving tax incentives for conservation. Or if you're a registered user, simply hit "reply" and then hit "send" and we'll automatically send the message below on your behalf.San Isabel Land Protection Trust, Custer County, Colorado

Tax benefits like these have helped hundreds of small land trusts, like the San Isabel Land Protection Trust (featured to the right), preserve thousands of acres of privately owned land in Colorado's Custer County.

At a time when Congress is stressing the importance of voluntary land protection, it is ironic that they are also talking about doing away with its most important tool. Development and sprawl threaten our clean air and water, open space, parks, and wildlife habitat. Private landowners play a critical role in conservation, and this approach is working because it encourages voluntary charitable gifts, respects private property rights, and keeps land on the tax rolls.

This new proposal by Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation would forbid any deductions for landowners who donate conservation easements for land they live on. In addition, tax benefits for all other donated land would be slashed from 100% of the land's value to no more than 33%. Their proposal effectively does away with any incentives for private landowners to donate conservation easements.

Right now state and federal budget deficits make it nearly impossible for the government to purchase conservation land. One of the best ways to conserve America's natural legacy is through incentives to private landowners.

Click here to send a message to Senator Grassley and Senator Baucus urging them to protect our natural heritage through incentives for landowners.

We need your help to spread the word about this dangerous proposal. Once you've taken action, please forward this email to your friends, family and co-workers and urge them to take action as well.

Thank you for your help!

Katelyn Sabochik
Online Campaign Manager

Registered users: Hit "reply" and then hit "send" and the message below will be automatically sent on your behalf.

I wish to comment on the recent recommendations of the Joint Committee on Taxation regarding donations by private landowners to help conservation.

The Joint Committee recommended severe cuts in the income tax deductions for donations of land and easements for conservation. Generous donations by our private landowners play an important role in the protection of my district's natural and historic resources. In an era when we are relying on private citizens to do more, I feel strongly that we should be encouraging the use of incentives that enable landowners to voluntarily protect our state's wildlife, scenic beauty, and historic sites.

I would support efforts to target potential abuse of these incentives. The Joint Committee's recommendation to cut back these incentives, however, will not stop the abuse. Instead, it reduces the incentives for legitimate donations, a course of action that would cost us dearly in conservation.

Landowners donating land or development rights on land are making extremely valuable gifts to present and future residents of our state. I urge you to do all you can to encourage charities working to protect our natural and historic heritage, and to encourage landowners who voluntarily work with those charities to secure a better future for our state.

[your name and address]


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