Last night at a reception on Capitol Hill, the Land Trust Alliance honored Rep. Joe Pitts (PA-16) for his work on behalf of farmland and open space conservation. Rep. Pitts co-chairs the Land Conservation Caucus and supported the Conservation Easement Incentive Act in the 112th Congress.
The Act was included in the tax relief package signed by President Obama in December. The Land Trust Alliance estimates that the credit has increased conservation easement donations by a third--to over one million acres a year.
The Land Conservation Caucus seeks to educate Members of Congress and their staffs about issues of importance to the conservation and preservation of open space and farmland. Along with Rep. Pitts, the Land Conservation Caucus is co-chaired by Republican Rep. Jim Gerlach (PA-06), and Democrats Rep. Martin Heinrich (NM-01) and Rep. Christopher Murphy (CT-05).
Rep. Pitts' statement follows:
"Our home in southeastern Pennsylvania has some of the richest and most beautiful farmland and open space in the nation. Protecting these lands from development is about protecting the quality of life in our community.
"For years, I've worked with local conservation groups to find innovative ways to encourage easement donation. It's an honor to be recognized for this ongoing work. I'm going to continue to work in a bipartisan way to make credits for conservation easement donation a permanent part of the tax code. In my district, this credit has helped preserve 11,000 acres."