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Friday, February 15, 2013

Utah Hosts Symposium Today on Perpetual Conservation Easements

Utah SympUtah hosts a symposium today on Perpetual Conservation Easements: What Have We Learned and Where Should We Go From Here? (webcast here):

The public is investing billions of dollars in conservation easements, which now protect more than 18 million acres throughout the United States. But uncertainties in the law and abusive practices threaten to undermine public confidence in and the effectiveness of conservation easements as land protection tools. This conference will explore these issues, with the goal of minimizing abuse and helping to ensure that conservation easements actually provide the promised conservation benefits to the public over the long term. Leaders in their respective fields will address (i) the federal tax incentives offered with respect to easements donated as charitable gifts to certain qualified holders, (ii) the state conservation easement enabling statutes, (iii) federal and state oversight of charities, and (iv) the role of state attorney general offices in the charitable sector and in the protection of charitable assets on behalf of the public.

Introduction:  Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah)

Federal Tax Incentives History:

  • History:  Theodore S. Sims (Boston University)
  • IRS Response to Abuses:  Karin Gross (Supervisory Attorney, IRS Office of Chief Counsel)
  • Proposed Reforms:  Roger Colinvaux (Catholic) 

State Enabling Statutes

  • History:  K. King Burnett (Uniform Law Commissioner)
  • Unintended Consequences of “Easement” Terminology:   Michael Allan Wolf (Florida)
  • Reforms:  Jeffrey Pidot (Former Chief, Maine Attorney General’s Office)

Charity Oversight Cases and Controversies:

  • Cases and Controversies:  Nancy A. McLaughlin (Utah)
  • Law History:  Marion R. Fremont-Smith (Harvard)
  • Limits of Self-Regulation:  Melanie B. Leslie (Cardozo)

Working With State Attorney General Offices:

  • Overview of Attorney General’s Role in Charitable Sector:  Mark A. Pacella (Pennsylvania Office of the Attorney General)
  • Working With the Attorney General’s Office in New Hampshire:  Terry M. Knowles (Department of Attorney General of New Hampshire)
  • Working With the Attorney General’s Office in California:  Darla Guenzler (Executive Director, California Council of Land Trusts)

Concluding Remarks­­—Taking The Long View:  Wendy Fisher (Executive Director, Utah Open Lands Conservation Association)

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