Major Conservation Legislation Passed By Congress Will Have Benefits For The Bay State And Its Residents

Release Date:
December 22, 2015

LINCOLN—Mass Audubon praised Friday’s bipartisan congressional vote that makes permanent a federal tax incentive supporting land conservation.

Farmers and forestland owners, community-based and statewide land trusts, and most importantly, Massachusetts residents, will directly benefit from the incentive that encourages landowners to place conservation restrictions on their land to protect important natural, scenic, and historic resources.

Conservation restrictions often provide tax benefits (deductions, reductions, etc.) to landowners in return for their surrendering or limiting development rights on their property.

Mass Audubon was among the 1,100 land trusts to support the incentive through a collaborative, multi-year campaign.

“This vote, supported by Democrats and Republicans alike, is a tangible reminder that open space is crucial to our collective quality of life” said Gary Clayton, President of the regional conservation and land protection leader. “This action provides Mass Audubon and other regional and local land trusts in Massachusetts a critical tool to preserve important land that fulfills an array of public purposes, including watershed protection, wildlife diversity, and family farms.”

In a strong bipartisan action, the House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bills that included the tax incentive. Once signed into law, the incentive will be applied retroactively to Jan. 1, 2015. An earlier version of the incentive expired Dec. 31, 2014.

Before the vote, Clayton had written the Bay State congressional delegation, urging it to support the legislation. Mass Audubon is a member of the Land Trust Alliance, the national land conservation organization that led the campaign for permanence.

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Mass Audubon is the largest nature-based conservation organization in New England. Founded in 1896 by two women who fought for the protection of birds, Mass Audubon carries on their legacy by focusing on the greatest challenges facing the environment today: the loss of biodiversity, inequitable access to nature, and climate change. With the help of our 140,000 members and supporters, we protect wildlife, conserve and restore resilient land, advocate for impactful environmental policies, offer nationally recognized education programs for adults and children, and provide endless opportunities to experience the outdoors at our wildlife sanctuaries. Explore, find inspiration, and take action at www.massaudubon.org.