In state and federal policy issues, we represent the interests of land trusts and work to advance conservation in Oregon.
Every year COLT’s board of directors develops a policy platform to guide our collective work.
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Top State Policy Priorities 2019
On an ongoing basis, COLT will respond proactively to significant legislative and administrative threats and opportunities that impact private lands conservation.
Oregon’s farm and ranch lands provide an economic and cultural cornerstone for the state. They also support critical habitat for fish and wildlife. Last year the legislature passed the Oregon Agricultural Heritage Program to provide a suite of grants to support the conservation of farm and ranch lands. The program was created in 2017 and now funding is needed to implement the program and leverage the federal Agricultural Conservation Easement Program authorized and funded in the 2018 Farm Bill. Learn more about OAHP
Oregon’s lands and waters play a critical role in storing and sequestering carbon. By conserving natural and working lands, land trusts can help Oregon reduce greenhouse gasses and support community resilience through adaptation strategies. COLT supports HB 2020, a proposed cap and trade program, and urges the legislature to include a dedicated allocation for natural and working lands. Learn more about Climate & Science
Other State Priorities We Support 2019
Land Trusts support clean and secure water for people and wildlife. We urge the legislature to set aside the necessary resources to support the state’s water needs assessment, analysis and prioritization process in the next biennium.
Establishes the Conservation and Recreation Fund at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and requests $17M of general funds to implement the state comprehensive wildlife strategy.
COLT is committed to protecting full recreation immunity under the Public Use of Lands Act (Act). This law provides essential protections for land trusts that make their properties available to the public.
HB 5539 and HB 5540 provide funding for the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board (OWEB) to protect and restore healthy watersheds and natural habitats for future generations.
Federal policy priorities 2019
The bipartisan Charitable Conservation Easement Program Integrity Act would halt the abuse of the enhanced conservation easement tax incentive by promoting conservation easement donations as a way for investors to make a fast profit. COLT hopes to recruit Oregon Delegation to co-sponsor. Learn More
PCSRF funds assist in cooperative public and private efforts to conserve, restore and recover listed or at-risk Pacific salmon populations and their habitats. This provides for more than 20% of OWEB’s budget.
COLT supports legislation to allow for qualified non-profit land trusts to hold the interests in land conservation easements financed in part by the Forest Legacy funds if a state voluntarily chooses to elect this option.