On July 22nd, Governor Malloy hosted a bill signing at the Capitol for Public Act 15-23 – the bill that now allows municipalities and land trusts to combine federal and state funds for up to 90% of the total purchase price in a land conservation deal. Working Lands Alliance Project Director Lisa Bassani attended the ceremonial bill signing alongside Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman, DEEP Commissioner Robert Klee, DEEP staff Graham Stevens and Rob LaFrance, Rep. James Albis and Rep. Roberta Willis, and our partners at CT Land Conservation Council, Connecticut Forest & Park Association, among others.
WLA worked closely with the Environment Committee co-chairs and a number of key partners this session to pass Senate Bill 347 (now PA 15-23). This bill makes an important change to what was known as the “70% rule” – a rule on the books that capped the total state and federal funding on a land conservation project at 70% of the fair market value. This put a huge burden on land trusts and municipalities to come up with 30% match for the purchase price (on top of all their incidental costs).
PA 15-23 raises the cap to 90% for total federal and state funds on a conservation project but also allows the Commissioner of DEEP to waive the cap entirely if any one of a number of conditions are met. This removes a big obstacle that was needlessly hindering some of our land conservation efforts, including those of our partner CT Farmland Trust.
Many thanks to the Governor and his staff – and the Co-chairs and Ranking Members of the Environment Committee – for their support of this bill!