Court Hears Arguments in Critical Case for Pennsylvania Parks

On December 7, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case Borough of Downington v. Friends of Kardon Park, a dispute which has lasted more than seven years. The issue at stake is whether Downington Borough can sell acres of parkland to developers, who would construct retail space and housing units on the […]

State’s 2016-17 Budget Did Not Favor the Environment

This communication was sent to PALTA partners on July 15, 2016 The state’s 2016-2017 budget did not favor the environment: For a second year, Growing Greener lost $15M due to Growing Greener’s dependence on natural gas impact fees, which have dropped dramatically with reduced drilling activities. Growing Greener was competing for these funds with the […]

HB2013 Defeated

On June 28, 2016, the House voted 123 to 77 to defeat House Bill 2013 (Ellis-R-Butler) which would have opened Pennsylvania’s State Parks to private development. A procedural motion to reconsider the vote by which the bill was defeated was filed. A new vote would be required to bring the bill up for consideration again before […]

Oppose HB 2013–whether or not amended

PALTA Letter sent to House on 6/28/2016: Dear Representative: House Bill 2013, even as amended, remains bad public policy. If the bill called on DCNR to undertake a study of the needs of Pennsylvanians and how the state might better meet those needs considering the experiences of other states, then that would make sense as a […]

PALTA Opposes HB2013–Whether or Not Amended

PALTA delivered the following letter to state representatives on June 23, 2016, regarding HB 2013 Dear State Representatives, On behalf of the 75 member organizations of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, I write to request your opposition to House Bill 2013—whether or not amended. Pennsylvania’s land trusts, having donated or bargain-sold numerous parcels of land […]

Oppose HB 2013–whether or not amended

PALTA Letter sent to House on 6/23/16: Dear Representative: On behalf of the 75 member organizations of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, I write to request your opposition to House Bill 2013—whether or not amended. Pennsylvania’s land trusts, having donated or bargain-sold numerous parcels of land to the Commonwealth for the creation and expansion of […]

2016-17 Budget Update

Updated 2/12/2016 The Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation Fund: Increase of $8.6 million Agriculture Conservation and Easement Purchase Fund: Increase of $1.1 million Environmental Stewardship Fund: dispersing $108.4 million (including a $35 million from Oil & Gas Lease Fund and $6.1 million from Marcellus Legacy Fund; Growing Greener II debt service is $36.3 million. Oil […]

PALTA Urges Congress to Renew Land and Water Conservation Fund

PALTA advocated for renewal of the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which was renewed in December 2015 by Congress. Below is a PALTA opinion piece regarding LWCF published by Pennsylvania media outlets earlier that month: Senators and Representatives should not leave Washington without renewing a modest program that helps preserve our nation’s natural resources and […]

Congress Passes Permanent Conservation Easement Tax Incentive

December 20, 2015 The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association joins the Land Trust Alliance in praising Congress for voting to make permanent a tax incentive supporting land conservation. In a strong bipartisan action, the House voted 318-109 and the Senate voted 65-33 to pass the bills that included the tax incentive. Farmers, ranchers, the public and […]

Federal Conservation Easement Tax Incentive Helps Owners Conserve Land for the Public Benefit

Below is a PALTA opinion piece published in Pennsylvania media outlets in December 2015: Helping Owners Conserve Land for the Public Benefit by Andrew M. Loza, executive director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association Farms and forests, natural areas, green spaces in our neighborhoods—all help define the places that we think of as home. These […]

Support HB 544: Recreational Use of Land and Water Act

PALTA sent this letter to House representatives on December 7, 2015 Dear Representative: On behalf of the 75 member organizations of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, I write to request your support of HB 544. The Association also asks you to oppose amendments that would diminish the bill’s protections for public-spirited landowners; at this writing […]

A New Chapter for Court & Environment

Pennsylvania’s Constitution states that: The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come. As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve […]

Monumental Election on November 3rd

Shape history! Vote on Tuesday, November 3 when Pennsylvanians will elect 3 judges to the 7-member Pennsylvania Supreme Court. These judges will have a profound impact on Pennsylvania law and the lives of Pennsylvanians. No matter your positions on issues, you should exercise your obligation to vote. (Find your polling place.) The Supreme Court justices will […]

Help Get Out the Vote!

501(c)(3) non-profit organizations may not endorse or oppose candidates; however, nonprofits may engage in nonpartisan outreach efforts that encourage constituents to participate in the election process. Nonpartisan simply means no partiality to any one candidate or political group. Nonprofit VOTE, an organization dedicated to providing resources to nonprofits on election activity, identifies the following activities as permissible for 501(c)(3) […]

Land Trust Alliance Update: Two Months to Save LWCF

Over the past five decades, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has infused over $16 billion of federal energy royalties into more than 41,000 conservation projects — from iconic national treasures to hometown parks and natural areas in nearly every county (link is external). But unless Congress acts, the LWCF will expire on September 30, […]

PALTA Issues Letter in Support of Severance Tax

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association, in a letter to Pennsylvania’s Senators and Representatives on June 16, 2015, communicated support for Governor Wolf’s severance tax proposal and “any other fair and reasonable proposal that dedicates a significant portion of the tax revenue to the conservation and restoration of Pennsylvania’s natural resources.” The text of the letter […]

Conservation Easement Incentive Act Introduced

2/3/15 Representatives Mike Kelly (R-PA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) just introduced the Conservation Easement Incentive Act, H.R. 641. It now goes immediately to a vote in the House Ways and Means Committee! The committee has scheduled a markup of this and other charitable incentives, which include incentives for donations of food to food banks, and […]

Governor Wolf Signs Executive Order Reinstating Moratorium On New Leases For Oil and Gas Development In State Parks and Forests

On January 29, 2015, Governor Tom Wolf signed an executive order reinstating a moratorium on new leases for oil and gas development in state parks and forests. At an event in Benjamin Rush State Park, Governor Wolf signed the executive order with members of the General Assembly in attendance. “Natural gas development is vital to […]

Statement by Andrew M. Loza, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Land Trust Association

January 15, 2015 Governor-elect Tom Wolf selected for his chief of staff and secretary of planning and policy, two former DEP secretaries—two individuals who care deeply about the air we breathe, the water we drink and the land that we sleep, work and play on. Now, we learn that he will appoint John Quigley and […]

Easement Incentive Expired

The enhanced deduction for conservation easement donations expired Dec. 31, 2014. Advocacy will continue to in an effort to make this enhanced deduction permanent. The incentive raised the deduction a landowner can take for donating a conservation easement from 30 percent of his or her income in any year to 50 percent. It allowed qualifying farmers and […]

Extended through Dec. 31: Conservation Easement Donation Enhanced Tax Incentive

As its final act before adjourning for the holidays, the Senate voted Tuesday night to extend dozens of expired tax incentives through the end of 2014. This includes the enhanced deduction for conservation easement donations. The president is expected to sign the bill. The incentive has three components: raising the deduction a landowner can take […]

HB1565 Passes, Signed by Governor

On October 15, 2014, by a vote of 118 to 79, the House gave final approval to House Bill 1565 (Hahn-R-Northampton) that would weaken DEP requirements for stream buffers in Special Protection Watersheds.  In September, the House passed an earlier version of the bill by the vote of 119 to 79.  The bill now goes to […]

PALTA Urges Senators to Oppose HB1565

October 8, 2014 The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association urges senators to oppose HB 1565. In a letter delivered to the senate today, PALTA wrote: Enactment of this legislation would cause irreversible harm to Pennsylvania’s water quality and increase the destruction wrought by flooding. The scope of the bill goes far beyond the supposed problems with […]

PALTA and Several Environmental Organizations Submit Comments Re: HB1565

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association urged members of the state senate to oppose HB 1565 stating that “enactment of this legislation would cause irreversible harm to Pennsylvania’s water quality and increase the destruction wrought by flooding.”: The bill cannot be fixed because its central feature—the neutering of buffer requirements—is fundamentally wrong.  Comments Regarding HB1565 Pennsylvania Land Trust […]

Stroud Water Research Center: Science, not politics, should guide Clean Water Act clarification

This piece was published Bernard Sweeney, Ph.D.,  director and president of Stroud Water Research Center, on September 14, 2014. The SWRC is a nonprofit organization based in Avondale, Pennsylvania focused on freshwater research, environmental public education and watershed restoration. The website address is Fresh water is our most precious natural resource, as essential to life […]

House Votes for Permanent Conservation Easement Tax Incentive

The House voted on July 17 on H.R. 4719, “The America Gives More Act,” which contains the Conservation Easement Incentive Act.” The bill passed by a bipartisan vote of 277-130.This is the first time every member of Congress has gone on record making the easement incentive permanent.

House to Vote on Conservation Tax Incentive Next Week

Congressional House leadership has scheduled a vote on July 16 or 17 on a bill to permanently enact several charitable tax incentives, including H.R. 2807, the Conservation Easement Incentive Act. The bill will come to the House floor as part of a larger charities package. This is a unique opportunity for the land trust community. […]

Governor Corbett Signs 2014-15 Budget and Fiscal Code

On July 10, Governor Corbett signed the 2014-15 budget (House Bill 2328) and fiscal code (House Bill 278), line item-vetoed specific  legislative appropriations and placed legislative spending initiatives into budgetary reserves. On June 30, the Pennsylvania Senate (26-24) and House (108-95), passed this Republican-written budget. (In subsequent days, the General Assembly also passed the fiscal code, legislation […]

Amicus Brief Filed to Defend Community Parks

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association filed an amicus curiae brief in Commonwealth Court on April 21 in defense of parkland and open space held by governments for the benefit of the public per the discussion at the March policy committee meeting and the authorization of PALTA’s board. The catalyst of the brief is the litigation […]

Memo to Joint Conservation Committee Re: Instrastate Pipelines

In April 2014, the Joint Legislative Air and Water Pollution Control and Conservation Committee held a hearing on several proposed bills that would impact the pipeline approval and oversight process of intrastate pipelines. The Pipeline Safety Coalition, along with several local land trusts, drafted a memo (download below) to the committee with specific recommendations regarding the siting process […]

Protect the Keystone Fund, Farm Preservation, Growing Greener, and Other Conservation Investments

Will your call, letter or meeting be the one to make the difference for conservation? It very well could, but you must act now. Pennsylvania has made tangible and lasting investments in conservation, thanks to the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund and farmland preservation program, both established in 1993, as well as Growing Greener, established in 1999. With these programs, Pennsylvania […]

Sign-on Letter to Defend State Conservation Funding

Please add your organization on to the sign-on letter (download here)  and forward this email to all the organizations and businesses you deal with.  Deadline to respond is close of business on Friday, June 13. One path for balancing the state’s 2014-15 budget would cut the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund, farmland preservation and Growing Greener. We […]

Budget Proposes Additional $75M in State Forest Drilling Royalties

In his 2014-15 budget proposal, Governor Corbett budget proposes: to allow limited drilling activity on commonwealth-owned lands in instances where the drilling can occur without the need for additional surface impacts. While this change will result in limited drilling activity, it is projected to generate $75 million of immediate revenue to the commonwealth and significant additional royalty revenue […]

2014-2015 Budget Brief

The Governor’s proposed budget maintains the status quo on key conservation funding programs, including the Keystone Recreation, Park & Conservation Fund, Growing Greener (Environmental Stewardship Fund) and farmland preservation.  The budget zeroes out funding for Heritage Area Programs (which had been zeroed out for several years until last year when it was allocated $2.25 M). […]

Urge Legislature to Protect Wildlife

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association joined several conservation and environmental organizations in urging the legislature to oppose House Bill 1576 and Senate Bill 1047. These proposals would undermine the ability of our wildlife management agencies to protect the mammals, birds, fish, reptiles and amphibians of the Commonwealth. The current process allows scientists and wildlife management […]

HB544 Would Improve RULWA

June 5, 2014 HB 544 would amend the Recreational Use of Land and Water Act (RULWA) to reaffirm the General Assembly’s support for landowners who, out of the goodness of their hearts, open their lands to public use for hunting, hiking, biking and other outdoor recreational purposes. The Recreational Use of Land and Water Act […]

Act 115 of 2013 Improves PA’s Open Space Law

Approved on December 18, 2013, Act 115 amends Pennsylvania’s Open Space Law (Act 442 of January 19, 1967, as amended), which authorizes the Commonwealth and its local government units to preserve, acquire or hold land for open space uses and provides for municipal referenda for dedicated open space taxes. The amendment provides greater flexibility and […]

Rep(s) Gerlach and Thompson Introduce Conservation Easement Incentive Act

Representatives Jim Gerlach (R-PA) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) have officially introduced the Conservation Easement Incentive Act now known as H.R. 2807! The two Congressmen held a press conference in front of the Capitol Building to underline the success of this incentive. Organized by the Alliance, the conference also included representatives from Maryland Environmental Trust, Eastern […]

Stormwater Bill Signed into Law

Governor Corbett signed into law Act 68 on July 9, 2013 which enables Pennsylvania municipalities to address storm water issues with the option of creating storm water authorities. Municipal authorities are independent agencies authorized by municipalities to manage public works services.  Local and county government entities have utilized authorities to address a wide variety of […]

2013-14: Budget Passed, Conservation Funding Secured

On June 30, 2013, Governor Corbett signed the 2013-14 state budget, which included critical funding for conservation programs. In addition to maintaining full funding for the Keystone Recreation Park & Conservation Fund, the general fund budget includes $2.25 million for the state’s Heritage Areas Program and $3.3 million in restored funding for conservation districts, which […]

General Assembly Makes Agricultural Conservation Easement Inspections Biennial

House Bill 84 amends the Agricultural Area Security Law (Act 43 of 1981) and abrogates regulations in order to reduce easement monitoring requirements for county agricultural land preservation boards. County boards will now be required to inspect eased properties at least every two years, rather than the prior annual requirement. The bill also changes some […]

Alert for districts served by Appropriation Committee members

February 2013 The Senate Appropriations Committee will review the proposed budget for DCNR on February 25. The House Committee will do so on March 5. Committee members will ask DCNR Secretary Rick Allen questions and express their thoughts about conservation and recreation funding. We want as many of them as possible to publicly express their […]

HB 2224 dies as the Senate wraps up its last voting day of 2012

This letter was sent to PALTA partners on October 20, 2012 Dear Friends and Colleagues, Celebration is in order…HB2224 has been defeated! Although HB 2224 was scheduled for a vote, the Pennsylvania Senate completed its last voting day of the 2011-2012 legislative session Wednesday night (10/17) without taking that vote. The Senate will not vote […]

Tell Legislators: Don’t Let Our Parks be Sold for Quick Cash – Oppose HB 2224

HB 2224 would radically reshape Pennsylvania law and, in doing so, make it easy to sell many of our parklands for quick cash. It doesn’t matter that a park has been used and loved for decades or even centuries. The bill would allow a local municipality or county to – depending on the arcane details […]

Call Your Senators to Stop HB2224

The Senate may take a final vote on HB2224 on Wednesday, October 3. Please call your Senators ASAP at their Harrisburg offices and tell them to oppose HB2224. The Senate voted 29-20 on Monday to amend HB2224, adding a requirement of a public hearing before sale of public land. This requirement, though welcome, misses the mark. (Because of varying […]

Urgent! Tell Senators: Don’t let parks be sold for quick cash

The Pennsylvania Senate is poised to vote on a bill that, depending on how the land was acquired, will allow county and local governments to sell local parks for easy cash. A vote on the bill could take place the week of October 1. If the bill passes, it goes to Governor Corbett for his […]

Congratulations and Thank You on Saving Keystone!

This letter was sent to PALTA partners in 2012 Dear Friends and Colleagues, Congratulations, and thank you! The Pennsylvania House and Senate approved a 2012-13 state budget that supports key conservation investments by the Commonwealth. The Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund will continue producing lasting legacies for Pennsylvania and cigarette tax revenue will continue to finance farmland preservation in […]

2012-13: Budget Brief

On February 7, 2012 Governor Corbett introduced a budget that permanently zeroed out dedicated funding to Keystone park and conservation projects and farmland preservation. Thanks to the tireless efforts of conservation advocates and legislative champions, the House voted 120 to 81 to approve SB1466, the General Fund budget, which fully restored the Keystone Fund, provided $20 million for […]

Keystone Fund & Farmland Preservation Programs Will Survive to See 20th Anniversary in 2013

The Pennsylvania Land Trust Association applauds the PA General Assembly for supporting key conservation investment programs in the 2012-13 state budget. The House and Senate have ensured that the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund will continue to create lasting conservation, recreational and economic benefits for Pennsylvania and that cigarette tax revenue will continue to […]

The largest proposed cut to conservation and recreation in PA history

Governor Corbett’s proposed 2012-13 budget eliminates all recreation, park, and conservation funding from the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund. The budget goes on to propose that the cut be made permanent. This means a loss of $30M in 2012-13 and the same–or more–in every year thereafter. It is the biggest cut to conservation funding […]

The end of an era?

Will your call, letter, or meeting be the one to make the difference for conservation? It could, but you must act. For two decades, Pennsylvania has made tangible and lasting investments in land conservation thanks to two taxes dedicated to that purpose: 15% of the Realty Transfer Tax for the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation […]

Farmland preservation funding tracked for elimination

Governor Corbett’s 2012/2013 budget sets a course to permanently eliminate the only significant state dedicated funding for farmland preservation in Pennsylvania. Farmland preservation receives $20.5M of Pennsylvania’s cigarette tax revenue each year.  The Governor’s budget proposal calls for permanently redirecting that funding to the state’s general fund. For 2012 and 2013, the Governor proposes to replace the cigarette tax revenue with […]

Stop the cuts! Sign the petition.

September 2013 Governor Corbett proposes the permanent diversion of the Keystone Recreation, Park and Conservation Fund revenue that supports local park, trail and open space protection projects to general government operations.  His 2012-13 budget would also phase out dedicated funds for the state farmland preservation program. Letters and face-to-face meetings with legislators in their local offices are very […]

Oil & Gas Lease Fund Continues to Be Siphoned

Governor Corbett’s proposed 2012-13 state budget continues the practice begun under Governor Rendell of funding DCNR’s general operations through Oil and Gas Lease Fund revenues rather than through the state’s general fund. Historically, the Oil and Gas Lease Fund revenue had been dedicated for improving state park and forest infrastructure and acquiring lands important to […]

Marcellus Shale Bill Passed

Governor Corbett signed Act 13 of 2012, the “Marcellus shale bill” or House Bill 1950, into law on 2/14/2012. Act 13’s proponents point to the improvements the law makes in the regulation of natural gas activities, arguing that the law provides protections far superior to those that otherwise would have been provided under the status […]

Legislative Budget and Finance Committee Reports on Growing Greener 2

As required by Pennsylvania House Resolution 2009-17, the nonpartisan Legislative Budget and Finance Committee reviewed Growing Greener 2. Download the committee’s report by clicking on the following link: Review of the Commonwealth’s Growing Greener II Initiative. Growing Greener 2 has had positive economic and environmental impacts across the state, saving hundreds of farms, bringing streams back […]