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Congressional vote supports land conservation

December 30, 2015

HAWLEY, PA AND BETHEL, NY — Delaware Highlands Conservancy (DHC), an accredited land trust working to protect lands and waters throughout the Upper Delaware River region, is praising a bipartisan congressional vote that makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation.

First enacted as a temporary provision in 2006, the incentive grants certain tax benefits to landowners who sign a conservation easement. Such private, voluntary agreements with local land trusts permanently limit uses of the land in order to protect its conservation values. Lands placed into conservation easements can continue to be farmed, hunted or used for other specified purposes. The lands also remain on county tax rolls, strengthening local economies.

Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to January 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired December 31, 2014.

The Delaware Highlands Conservancy was among the 1,100 land trusts to support the incentive through a collaborative, multi-year campaign.

“The enhanced incentive will empower more local landowners to protect their cherished properties for future generations,” said Sue Currier, executive director of the DHC. “We’ve shared the inspiring stories of some of the landowners who have conserved their lands as a result of the enhanced incentive in the past on our website—www.DelawareHighlands.org/conserve.”

DHC thanks U.S. Senators Casey, Gillibrand, and Schumer and Representatives Marino and Gibson for their support of the bill.