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Senators praised for introducing bill to save endangered species on private lands
Author: teddygirl | Tuesday December 12, 2006


This is a press release from Defenders of Wildlife, an organization that "is dedicated to the protection of all native wild animals and plants in their natural communities." This is from their website:

Contact:


Sean Crowley 202.572-3331 or scrowley@ed.org - Environmental Defense
Aislinn Maestas, 202-797-6624, or maestas@nwf.org - National Wildlife Federation
William Lutz, (202) 772-0269, Defenders of Wildlife


SENATORS CRAPO, LINCOLN, BAUCUS, GRASSLEY PRAISED BY NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL LEADERS FOR INTRODUCING BILL TO HELP SAVE ENDANGERED SPECIES ON PRIVATE LANDS

Legislation Would Provide Tax Credits for Private Conservation Efforts

Washington, D.C. -- The leaders of three leading national environmental groups today praised Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) for introducing and Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR), Charles E. Grassley (R-IA) and Max Baucus (D-MT) for cosponsoring a new bill to provide financial incentives for private landowners to help save endangered plants and animals. The bill introduction is significant because all four senators are key members of the Senate Finance Committee, which has jurisdiction over tax credit legislation; Senators Grassley and Baucus are the top ranking Republican and Democratic members of the committee.

Environmental Defense, National Wildlife Federation and Defenders of Wildlife sent a letter thanking Senators Crapo, Lincoln, Baucus and Grassley for sponsoring The Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2006 (S. 4087). The legislation would provide $400 million annually in new tax credits, plus additional deductions and exclusions, for private landowners who take steps to help endangered or threatened species on the properties they own, such as the northern Idaho ground squirrel, the red-cockaded woodpecker in Arkansas, the bull trout in Montana, and the Topeka shiner (a fish) in Iowa.

"The most effective way to resolve conflict is to find consensus and collaboration; once that is achieved, the results can be phenomenal," said Senator Crapo. "This legislation encourages people to take part in conservation efforts. In fact, it rewards them for taking actions that will lead to species recovery and enhancement. It makes conservation valuable rather than a liability and it avoids the pitfalls that litigation brings. I am pleased to have worked closely with Senators Lincoln, Baucus and Grassley and groups like the National Wildlife Federation, Defenders of Wildlife, and Environmental Defense to craft legislation that moves us forward on species protection as well as recognizes private property values."

"Senators Crapo, Baucus and Grassley and I have focused on ways to make private landowners more a part of the ESA process," said Senator Lincoln. "Often, private landowners are in the best position to address the needs of a particular species. This bill will encourage them to take action and I am confident it can have a significant impact on recovery."

The bill provides new tax credits for landowners who agree to put easements on their property or agree to restore, enhance or manage endangered species habitat on their land. It also expands tax deductions for any landowner who takes part in the recovery plans specified under the Endangered Species Act, and allows landowners to exclude from taxable income certain federal payments under cost-share conservation programs.

"We need programs like this one that provide farmers, ranchers, family forest owners and other landowners with the financial tools they need to protect the hundreds of endangered animal and plants in our country that depend heavily on private lands," said Fred Krupp, president of Environmental Defense, which recently convinced the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency to initiate a program to restore up to a quarter million acres of longleaf forests that will rebuild rare wildlife habitat, and boost bob-white quail and turkey populations. "Environmental Defense has proposed and supported cooperative conservation programs for years, so we naturally support this effort. We thank Senators Crapo, Lincoln, Baucus and Grassley for their leadership on this vital issue."

"This bill represents the future of wildlife conservation in America," said Larry Schweiger, president and CEO of the National Wildlife Federation. "Providing landowners with real economic incentives to save America's imperiled wildlife has been the missing puzzle piece in protecting endangered species. Senators Crapo, Lincoln, Baucus and Grassley have set a high mark for what legislation in the next Congress should look like."

"Partnering with private landowners on wildlife conservation is absolutely critical," said Defenders of Wildlife President Rodger Schlickeisen. "This legislation provides key incentives to enlist more landowners in this effort, which benefits people and endangered species alike. Senators Crapo, Lincoln, Baucus and Grassley are to be congratulated for their foresight on this vital issue and we look forward to working with them in the new Congress."

The full text of the letter is below.

Environmental Defense, a leading national nonprofit organization, represents more than 500,000 members. Since 1967, Environmental Defense has linked science, economics, law and innovative private-sector partnerships to create breakthrough solutions to the most serious environmental problems. www.environmentaldefense.org

The National Wildlife Federation is America's conservation organization inspiring Americans to protect wildlife for our children's future. www.nwf.org

Defenders of Wildlife is recognized as one of the nation's most progressive advocates for wildlife and its habitat. With more than 500,000 members and supporters, Defenders of Wildlife is an effective leader on endangered species issues. www.defenders.org

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Dear Senators Crapo, Lincoln, Baucus and Grassley:

On behalf of the more that 5 million members and supporters that we collectively represent, we thank Senator Crapo introducing and Senators Lincoln, Baucus and Grassley for cosponsoring The Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2006. Its aim of encouraging and rewarding conservation initiatives by private landowners is vitally important.

The recovery of many of our most imperiled wildlife species will require the cooperation of the nation's landowners, particularly its farmers, ranchers and forest landowners. There are at present, however, few significant incentives to encourage landowners to restore, enhance and properly manage the habitats needed by such species. Your bill recognizes the need for positive incentives and provides them. By offering tax credits to those landowners who carry out needed management activities, and by scaling the size of those credits to the magnitude and duration of the landowners' commitments, the significant public benefit from the conservation actions of private landowners is acknowledged.

We appreciate the hard work and constructive spirit of your staffs in bringing the bill to this stage. We look forward to working with them and you in the coming Congress to translate the many good ideas in the bill into law.

Respectfully submitted,

Fred Krupp, President, Environmental Defense
Larry Schweiger, President/CEO, National Wildlife Federation
Rodger Schlickeisen, President, Defenders of Wildlife

For more information, visit Defenders' website: http://www.defenders.org


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