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Crapo, Lincoln Introduce Collaborative ESA Bill

CRESA measure involves more people, incentives to boost recovery efforts

Washington, DC â?? Enlisting more people in conservation efforts by offering incentives to private landowners is a key component of an ESA improvement bill introduced today by Idaho Senator Mike Crapo and Arkansas Senator Blanche Lincoln. Crapo (R-Idaho) and Lincoln (D-Arkansas) have co-chaired a bipartisan working group on ESA issues which produced the legislation introduced today. S. 2110, the Collaboration for the Recovery of the Endangered Species Act (CRESA), focuses on additional participation by landowners and states to recover species. It also, for the first time, introduces incentives such as tax breaks and conservation banking provisions. Conservation banking is a concept that encourages voluntary conservation efforts and partnerships and has been used successfully in several states. The bill allows the federal government to prioritize its resources to get funding to the species most in need, while incorporating local input on recovery plans and species recovery teams.â??We must decrease the conflict inherent in present efforts to speed recovery,â?? Crapo said. â??Collaboration and incentives offered to property owners will be a faster route to recovery of species than litigation in the courts. CRESA allows for innovation, flexibility, and the collaborative involvement of many parties, which have proven to be more effective in recovering species.â?? â??This is a constructive, bipartisan effort to update a 30-year-old law which has increasingly slowed the recovery of endangered species,â?? Lincoln said. â??By encouraging greater involvement between land owners and environmentalists, it is my hope that we can minimize litigation and enhance recovery.â??Crapo and Lincoln say CRESA has groundbreaking incentive provisions. The proposed tax incentives will reward landowners who help recover species. The conservation banking provision is an innovative market program that allows landowners to profit from conservation efforts through use of conservation credits. Additionally, there are regulatory incentives for landowners who voluntarily contribute to recovery with simpler procedures and through Farm Bill programs. This bill makes it easier for landowners to do recovery work for species. The tax provisions mean CRESA may receive a hearing next year before the Senate Finance Committee. Crapo and Lincoln are both members of the Finance Committee.â??Weâ??ve seen amazing things happen in Idaho, in Arkansas, and in California to name just a few. Weâ??ve seen landowners, conservationists, local, state and federal agencies come together, figure out a workable plan and set about to do the business of recovering species. These plans are tried and trueâ??they work and they need to have the strength of the law behind them,â?? Crapo concluded.