Periodically, the folks in TPL’s Federal Affairs department prepare a summary of conservation news from the nation’s capitol. The Washington Watch newsletter is available on the Web or by free email subscription.
Clicking on each topic brings up additional information.
White House Conference on America’s Great Outdoors
On Friday, April 16th, the White House sponsored a conference on America’s Great Outdoors, describing the event as a way to “address the challenges, opportunities and innovations surrounding modern-day land conservation and the importance of reconnecting Americans to the outdoors.” The event was held at the Department of the Interior. TPL was pleased to have been invited to attend the conference and sent several representatives to the conference including TPL’s President Will Rogers and California State Director Sam Hodder.
TPL and Urban Parks
TPL has joined the recently-formed Urban Park Coalition, spearheaded by the National Park and Recreation Association (NRPA), whose aims are to engage with Congress on urban park legislation. TPL is working on several fronts to advance knowledge about and consideration of the role of parks in addressing healthy communities.
Community Forest Program Grants
The Community Forest and Open Space Conservation Program, authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill, is a new program that will provide matching federal grants for purchase of local forestlands by local governments, tribes, and qualifying nonprofits. The program will ensure funding for the creation or expansion of community forests that can meet local needs for recreation, economic development, watershed protection, and other ecosystem services.
Conservation Tax Incentive Extension Awaits Congressional Action
The enhanced tax deduction for donations of conservation easements expired at the end of 2009. Despite the bipartisan support of well over half of the members of the House of Representatives and forty-one senators, a permanent extension of the provision has not yet been enacted. There has been some action on a temporary extension, however, but even that has been caught up in the cumbersome legislative machinery of Congress.
House and Senate “Dear Colleague,” Letters on LWCF and FLP
With the congressional appropriations process underway for FY 2011, Members of the House and Senate have written to the chairmen and ranking members of the respective appropriations subcommittees that oversee the Interior Department and the Forest Service to demonstrate their support for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) and the Forest Legacy Program.
Public Testifies on Land Conservation Funding
Every year the House and Senate Interior Appropriations Subcommittees invite the public to submit written testimony in advance of the writing of the annual Interior spending bills. The process allows the public to comment on important issues and to support various programs and projects before the subcommittees. This year the House Interior Subcommittee accepted written testimony until March 19. The Subcommittee also held a Public Witness Day session on March 25 in which participants delivered spoken testimony to the subcommittee.