Land Conservation Policy

The following text appeared in a March 21, 2013 Email Alert from PEC:


A Bright Spot in this Year's General Assembly

Still Missing Governor's Signature -- Monday Deadline Approaches


HB 1398 would help provide funding to programs that protect working farms, and doesn't go outside of our existing budget to do so.

Amid all the partisan gridlock we see coming out of DC it is good to know that in Virginia our elected representatives can still cross party lines to get good legislation passed.

This year, the General Assembly passed an important and exciting bill related to land conservation in Virginia -- a bill that would help fund programs that protect working farms, drinking water supply areas, battlefields and lands for public recreation. But time is running out for Governor McDonnell to sign the bill into law.

Ask the Governor to Sign HB 1398

This bill passed the Senate 38 to 2, and the House, 84 to 15. It would help conserve important natural and cultural resources, and uses existing budget allocations to get the job done.
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About the Bill

If signed into law, HB 1398, which was patroned by Republican Delegate R. Lee Ware, would provide a nearly tenfold increase in funding for existing land conservation grant programs by placing a $100M cap on the Land Preservation Tax Credit (LPTC), and utilizing funds over $100M that would have previously been issued as tax credits, as grant money instead. In the first year, this would provide $13.9M in funding for programs that purchase easements from landowners who can’t afford to make a full donation, and that amount would grow modestly in future years.


The bill would also help chronically underfunded grant programs that make acquisitions of land for public recreation possible.

With such strong support from both houses, the bill also reaffirmed the General Assembly’s support for the tax credit -- Virginia's only significant program aimed at protecting our natural, cultural and historic resources, and has made conservation of family lands possible for land rich and cash poor landowners across the Commonwealth.

Time is Running Out

This bill was backed by a strong coalition of land conservation organizations including PEC, The Nature Conservancy, and the Civil War Trust. It also enjoyed strong bipartisan support and passed both the House and the Senate by wide margins, providing further evidence that land conservation is a cross-party cause that benefits all Virginians.

There is a midnight deadline on Monday for the governor to sign, amend or veto. Please write the Governor today and ask that he sign HB1398 as soon as possible.


Heather Richards
Vice President of Conservation & Rural Programs
The Piedmont Environmental Council
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Free Easement Packet

Important information about conservation easements -- including a sample PEC Easement and guidelines on how to proceed with donating a easement.

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