Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Just in from Washington


Photo courtesty of Rich Iwasaki
CRAPO BILL PROMOTES LANDOWNER ROLE IN SPECIES RECOVERY
Introduces new version of Endangered Species Recovery Act

Washington, D.C. – Recovery efforts for threatened and endangered species would be improved by voluntary contributions from private landowners under legislation introduced by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo. Crapo, the Ranking Member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Water and Wildlife, won bipartisan support and cosponsors for his Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2010.

The updated ESA-related bill follows Crapo’s original 2007 legislation that won broad, bipartisan support. Language from that bill calling for tax deductions for private property owners who assist in species recovery was included in the 2008 Farm Bill. Crapo’s new effort seeks to create tax credits for landowners as well.

“More than eighty percent of threatened and endangered species reside on private lands, including agricultural land,” Crapo said. “Creating new incentives for land owners benefits these species’ recovery efforts. This approach has broad, bipartisan support and our past legislative efforts received the endorsement of landowner and conservation groups alike.”

Crapo’s bill, S. 3146, would create habitat protection easement credits and habitat restoration credits fairly compensating landowners who provide conservation easements and assist with species recovery. “These people are in the best position to help the vast percentages of threatened and endangered species that live on private lands,” Crapo said. The Endangered Species Recovery Act of 2010 is co-sponsored by Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho), Sam Brownback (R-Kansas), Richard Burr (R-North Carolina), Thad Cochran (R-Mississippi), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), John Cornyn (R-Texas), Blanche Lincoln (D-Arkansas) and Jon Tester (D-Montana).

“The Endangered Species Act has played a critical role in protecting threatened and endangered species, their habitats, and promoting species recovery,” Crapo concluded. “Now it is time for private property owners to be full partners in these recovery efforts.” The legislation has been referred to the Senate Finance Committee, on which Crapo serves, for further consideration.

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