Letter: Congress Passes Legislation Supporting Land Conservation

The scenic beauty of our area is worth conserving. (Photo by P. Doan)

On Thursday, Feb. 12, by a super-majority of 67 percent, Congress voted in favor of the America Gives More Act (H.R. 644), which included a key incentive for land conservation. The Hudson Highlands Land Trust applauds the entire House of Representatives in this vote, but in particular wishes to congratulate our local Congressmen Sean Patrick Maloney (D) and Chris Gibson (R), who in true bipartisan fashion best represented their constituents and voted “Yea” for this bill.

Reps. Maloney and Gibson understand that the scenic landscapes of the Hudson Valley bring economic benefit to local communities through tourism and outdoor recreation, and support job growth. They realize that open space also sustains the region’s quality of life by protecting natural resources, including safe drinking water. Their key votes in support of this legislation affirm their uncompromising commitment to the importance of voluntary, private land conservation in the Hudson Highlands and across the nation.

Voluntary conservation agreements continue to be the least expensive way to retain our communities’ character by preserving legacy landscapes and protecting working farms forever, ensuring these natural lands are not inappropriately developed nor their natural resources exploited.

The legislation now moves to the U.S. Senate, where it must also garner strong bipartisan support in order to make permanent the increased federal tax incentives for donations of conservation agreements by private landowners. We urge Sens. Schumer and Gillibrand to continue their unwavering support of land conservation by joining their bipartisan colleagues Sens. Heller (R) and Stabenow (D) as co-sponsors of S. 330, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act.

I encourage your readers to contact their congressmen and thank them for their support of voluntary land conservation, as well as urge our senators to take the lead with S.330.

Andy Chmar
Executive Director
Hudson Highlands Land Trust


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