Just heard – Courtney White of the Quivira Coalition is discussing and signing his latest book, Revolution on the Range: The Rise of a New Ranch in the American West tonight at the Tattered Cover in Lodo. According to the Tattered Cover website, White’s latest read is “a thought-provoking book arguing that ranchers and environmentalists have more in common than they realize, and that cattle and conservation can go hand in hand.” He’ll be there at 7:30 pm. Check out the Tattered Cover website for more information.
Archive for July, 2008
Wild horses are in the news again, as the Bureau of Land Management deals with an over population problem and is proposing euthanasia for these mustangs. In a Sunday article in the New York Times:
“For years, the bureau has been running the Adopt-A-Horse program, selling mustangs from the range to those who would care for them. But 30,000 once-wild horses were never adopted and are being boarded by the agency at facilities in Kansas and Oklahoma (another 33,000 run wild). As feed and gas grow more expensive, the rate of adoptions plummets.”
According to the article, the BLM and it’s critics disagree on the following judgement calls: “how many horses can a range of 29 million acres support, and how should that level be maintained?”
What do you think? Do you agree with opponents of horse euthanasia who claim the wild mustang is a fundamental part of American imagery and have a right to be on these lands? Or do you agree with proponents, who claim an over population destroys water holes and grasses essential to the ecosystems these horses inhabit? Are these wild horses above federal programs that control other animal populations?
In light of Colorado HB-1353 going into effect on July 1, 2008, and the recent passing of the Food, Conservation and Energy Act of 2008 (the “Farm Bill”) by Congress, the Colorado Coalition of Land Trusts (CCLT) sent out a timeline and legal analysis from Isaacson Rosenbaum P.C. last Friday. According to the Denver law firm:
“Colorado House Bill 08-1353 creates new reporting and submission requirements for appraisers, and new review and enforcement duties in the Department of Revenue, Division of Real Estate, and the Board of Real Estate Appraisers. The bill also creates a new Conservation Easement Oversight Commission to oversee conservation easement transactions for which a Colorado conservation tax credit is claimed. Land trusts accepting conservation easements for which a tax credit is claimed must complete a conservation easement holder certification process. Finally, HB 1353 imposes a new tax basis limitation on conservation tax credits for property held for less than one year, aligning the state program with federal tax requirements.”
“The Farm Bill extends the expanded tax incentives for charitable contributions of qualified conservation easements from the Pension Protection Act of 2006. Retroactive from January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2009, the Farm Bill extended the Pension Act’s expansion of the amount of the deduction available for donations of qualified conservation contributions from 30% to 50% of adjusted gross income, and up to 100% of AGI for farmers and ranchers. The Farm Bill also extended the expansion of the deduction’s lifetime, or its ‘carryforward’ period, from five to fifteen years. Finally, the Farm Bill included $733 million in funding over five years for the Farmland Protection Program, and re-established the Grasslands Reserve Program, targeting 1.22 million acres for protection with an estimated $300 million in funding.”
To read the full analysis by Isaacson Rosenbaum, click here.
In addition, CCLT offered the following timeline for these legislative developments in the conservation community:
July 1, 2008
- Governor may appoint Conservation Easement Oversight Commission.
- The Department of Real Estate may begin any necessary rulemaking for the Conservation Easement Oversight program.
- Appraisers must begin submitting final conservation easement appraisals along with an affidavit and fee to the Division of Real Estate.
January 1, 2009
- Non-profit easement holders (land trusts) can begin applying for certification.
April 15, 2009 (repeats annually)
- All easement holders must submit the form DR 1299 required under C.R.S. 39-22-522 to the Department of Revenue and the Division of Real Estate by this date.
January 1, 2010
- All non-profit easement holders (land trusts) must be certified by this date in order for donors to receive the state tax credit.
- Government entities and historic preservation groups may begin to apply for certification.
January 1, 2011
- All government entity and historic preservation easement holders must be certified by this date in order for donors to receive the state tax credit.
If you are already an easement donor in Colorado, CCLT offers the following guidance:
- Taxpayers must continue to submit information about the conservation easement donation on Forms DR 1303, DR 1304, and DR 1305.
- In order to receive the state tax credit, an easement must be donated to a certified organization once that specific type of entity is required to be certified.
- If an easement is donated to a certified holder (at the time of donation) which subsequently loses certification, the tax credit will remain valid. It is the responsibility of the landowner to check the certification status of an easement holder with the Division of Real Estate (an online status list will be maintained).
Earthjustice filed a 60-day notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Tuesday. The group, acting on behalf of 10 conservation groups, says the institution “violated federal law when it refused to protect the estimated 500 wolverines in the lower 48 states” in March.
The decision was justified by saying that wolverine populations in Canada were stable and genetically similar to the population in the U.S. According to Tim Preso, staff attorney for Earthjustice, “if Fish and Wildlife used the same logic with wolves, grizzly bears, peregrine falcons and bald eagles, none of those populations likely would exist today in the lower 48 states.” Read more in the Jackson Hole News & Guide.
The Food and Drug Administration still has not determined the origin of the U.S. salmonella outbreak last month. Farmers and distributors of tomatoes, the prime suspect, are growing angry as many consumers have stopped buying tomatoes altogether for fear of becoming ill, which has resulted in slumping sales.
According to the Wall Street Journal, “the regulators said they can’t pinpoint a region, or even a country, where the outbreak might have started. It might even be possible, they said, that tomatoes aren’t to blame,” as “many victims ate tomatoes combined in dishes such as salsa and guacamole.” The FDA has collected and tested 1,700 tomato samples in the U.S. and Mexico, and all have returned negative for salmonella.