Tax Bill Introduced To Benefit Endangered Species & Other Wildlife

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(04/20/1999) - Defenders of Wildlife has offered its full support to the Species Conservation Tax Act of 1999, introduced yesterday by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). The bill would create tax incentives for private landowners to conserve their land and wildlife, which Defenders says is crucial in the battle to save endangered species and habitat. Of the more than 1,100 species currently listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA), nearly half live on non-federal lands. The lives of these species are in the hands of private landowners.

"Improved stewardship of habitat on private and other non-federal lands is paramount to reversing the decline of biodiversity," says Rodger Schlickeisen, President of Defenders of Wildlife. "I personally give the senator a thumbs-up for his effort to accomplish this goal by reforming the tax code. These changes will help to create a balance between the needs of humans and those of other species that share the land."

The Species Conservation Tax Act of 1999 will make four relatively minor but important changes to the tax code to provide much-needed financial incentives for private landowners to conserve habitat for endangered and threatened species and other wildlife. The four provisions are titled: Income Tax Exclusion for Cost-Share Payments under Partners for Wildlife Program, Enhanced Deduction for Donation of Real Property for Conservation of Threatened and Endangered Species, Exclusion from Estate Tax for Real Property Subject to Endangered Species Conservation Agreement, and Estate Tax Exclusion for Property Subject to a Qualified Conservation Easement located near a national wildlife refuge.

"This money is barely a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of millions of dollars in tax breaks, but will have a substantial positive impact on our nation’s wildlife," adds Schlickeisen.

"These types of tax incentives are true win-win for all," says Mike Senatore, Wildlife Counsel for Defenders of Wildlife. "Landowners receive tax breaks for being good land stewards and our nation’s threatened and endangered species benefit from improved habitat."

For detailed information on the tax reforms please contact Jesal Mehta at 202-682-9400.

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