Governor Beshear Signs HB 281 Into Law
The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky Spearheads Effort to Pass First Land Conservation Measure in Decades
Governor Beshear Signs HB 281
Members of Conserve Kentucky witness a milestone for conservation in the state.
The Nature Conservancy of Kentucky and other member organizations of Conserve Kentucky witnessed a milestone last month when Governor Beshear signed HB 281, a new law allowing qualifying Land Trusts to apply for conservation funding through the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (HLCF).
“For the first time in more than a decade the state of Kentucky can boast a brand new revenue stream in the way of leveraged public and private dollars dedicated to protecting the natural landscape which provides clean air for breathing, clean water for drinking, healthy soils for food production, valuable wildlife habitat and open spaces for renewing our spirits,” says the Conservancy’s Kentucky State Director, Terry Cook.
HB 281, which stalled during the last legislative session, enables non-profit land trust organizations to competitively apply for land acquisition funds from the Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund (KHLCF). Under the new law, land trusts are required to provide a 1:1 cash match.
Adds Cook, “Leveraging public and private dollars in this way happened as a result of Legislators with vision working together with Conserve Kentucky, a consortium Kentucky organizations committed to securing public and private dollars for this important cause.
According to Cook, Conserve Kentucky is also crafting legislation that would establish a state income tax credit available to landowners who voluntarily preserve their land through the donation of a conservation easement and/or fee title. Such a donation would be required to protect conservation values defined by the state and made to an entity such as a state or local government or a 501(c)(3) land conservation organization qualified to hold such property interest.
“Unlike other states, Kentucky has no state tax credit for land donation. We hope to change that.” According to the Land Trust Alliance, sixteen states have tax incentives in place for individuals who donate land or easements for conservation purposes.
Conserve Kentucky Mission Working to foster innovative collaborations between the public and private sectors, while pursuing legislation that conserves and sustains the many benefits that the waters, lands and wildlife provide to the people of Kentucky.
Conserve Kentucky Steering Committee
Bernheim Arboretum & Research Forest
Kentucky Conservation Committee
Kentucky Environmental Education Council
Kentucky Horse Council
League of Kentucky Sportsmen
Kentucky Natural Lands Trust
The Nature Conservancy
Note: While not formally on the steering committee, Conserve Kentucky has also benefited from input by the following organizations: Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, Heritage Land Conservation Fund Board, the PACE (Purchase of Agriculture Easements) Board, Kentucky Division of Forestry, Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources and Kentucky Division of Conservation.
The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to protect ecologically important lands and waters for nature and people. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.