Posted inOpinion Columns

Opinion: Critics of land conservation easements have twisted the concept beyond reality

The misinformation being spread about the U.S. government’s recommendation to create locally led, voluntary campaigns to conserve and restore 30 percent of America’s lands and waters by 2030 is so egregious that some Colorado landowners — the ones in the best position to use conservation for land and water protection — now believe conservation hurts […]

Posted inEnvironment, News, Politics and Government

Colorado lawmakers are once again trying to pay landowners for rejected conservation easements 

Persistent state legislators are once again hoping to compensate Colorado landowners whose conservation easement tax credits were rejected and clawed back years ago, this time with a bill whose price tag to the treasury would be about $155 million.  The effort by Sens. Faith Winter, a Westminster Democrat, and Cleave Simpson, an Alamosa Republican, revives […]

Posted inEnvironment

A record number of Coloradans are pursuing conservation easements as land, water prices increase

Tony Caligiuri was ready for it to fall apart.   Instead, the pandemic gave conservation in Colorado a boost. Soaring land values, spiking prices for water, legislation boosting incentives for landowners who protect their land and growing pressure to develop open land has fueled a record year for conservation easements in Colorado. “We were bracing ourselves […]

Posted inEnvironment, News, Politics and Government

Colorado Democrats renege on deal, kill reparations bill for people mired in conservation tax credit problems

Colorado Democrats killed a conservation easement tax credit reparations bill on a party-line vote in the House Appropriations Committee Monday evening, apparently reneging on what Republicans assumed was a pact to support Senate Bill 33 and a related easement measure in the House.  Senate Bill 33, which already passed the Senate, was approved 7-4 earlier […]

Posted inClimate, Environment, News, Politics and Government

Landowners who shaped Colorado’s conservation easement bill would receive hundreds of thousands of dollars if credits are restored

A controversial bill setting aside $149 million in reparations for state-rejected conservation tax credits is speeding ahead, despite renewed accusations that the proposal was steered by landowners who will benefit from repayments, including the family of a former state agriculture commissioner. The official working group that helped write Senate Bill 33 included three landowners who […]

Posted inEnvironment, News, Politics and Government

Colorado could hand out up to $149 million in disputed conservation easement tax credits

Colorado lawmakers are considering a bill that would return up to $149 million to holders of conservation easement tax credits previously disqualified by the state, a revival of a decades-old scandal that appraisers say would be rewarding fraud.  The measure, Senate Bill 33, would restore controversial easement tax credits issued from 2000 to 2013, some […]

Posted inClimate, Energy, Environment, Growth, News, Newsletters, Outdoors, Outsider

A bold plan to protect 30% of Colorado lands and waters by 2030

Conservationists in Colorado are dreaming big.  In a time of political turmoil and legislative impotence, a consortium of Colorado conservation groups is floating an audacious plan to conserve 30% of the land in the state — roughly 20 million acres — by 2030. Since statehood, the state has protected only 6 million acres.  The state […]

Posted inEnvironment, Growth, News, Outdoors

Conservationists cap 30-year preservation effort with protection of Banded Peak Ranch in southern Colorado

With the conservation of the Banded Peak Ranch in the southern San Juan Mountains, a 30-year, $37 million effort concludes with the protection of 10 different ranches in the Navajo River Watershed.  And with the Great American Outdoors Act promising full funding of $900 million a year in the Land and Water Conservation Fund, these […]

Posted inEnvironment, News, Outdoors

A world-renowned climate research site near Crested Butte is now protected by a conservation easement

The Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory in Gothic has spent almost a century working to protect pristine swaths of wild lands. The research site, which draws scientists from across the globe every summer and ranks among the world’s largest, oldest and most productive field stations, now is permanently protecting its entire 270-acre research site. As part […]