Good news for land conservation

Dear Editor,

It’s not often I get to share good news this quickly into the Virginia General Assembly, but yesterday was one of the more surprising and rewarding days I’ve spent in Richmond.

HB 1470 was tabled in subcommittee!

This bill would have cut the Land Preservation Tax Credit — the single most effective tool Virginia has to protect farm and forest land, clean air and water, historic and scenic landscapes, and important natural communities and ecosystems.

A big ‘thank you’ to the delegates who serve on Finance Subcommittee 2 for voting unanimously to table the legislation, including Delegates Cline, Orrock, Cole, Marshall, Pogge, Head, Fowler, Filler-Corn, Kory, Sullivan, and Heretick.

As I walked the halls of the General Assembly building the common refrain from legislative aides and elected officials was “Dan, we got a lot of calls on this one.” There is no doubt in my mind that all of the calls and emails the delegates received from people in support of land conservation had a huge impact on the outcome of this bill!

And of course, success on this issue would not have been possible without great teamwork. The Nature Conservancy (TNC) worked hard to get an excellent op-ed placed in the Richmond Times Dispatch this past weekend. All of the land trusts across the state called their members. The Piedmont Environmental Council along with TNC, Virginia Conservation Network, Virginia’s United Land Trusts and the Virginia League of Conservation Voters worked hard to talk with all the members of the House Finance subcommittee. And I would be remiss if I did not recognize the Virginia Farm Bureau for making a strong case about the value the Land Preservation Tax Credit brings to farmers and rural landowners.

Thanks again to all of you who made calls and wrote letters and emails. There is still a lot left to pay attention to, including a debate over how to resolve a significant budget deficit. But this was a strong bi-partisan signal that the Land Preservation Tax Credit should remain in its current form.

Sincerely,

Dan Holmes
Director of State Policy
The Piedmont Environmental Council

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