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Save an Animal, Save a Tax Dollar? An Idea for MA

February 27, 2007

A federal bill to reform the Endangered Species Act is inspiring some in Massachusetts to seek a similar law in the Commonwealth. One portion of the bill would give tax incentives to land owners who protect species on their property.

Bart Semcer, D.C. representative for the Sierra Club, says tax incentives are a good way to encourage landowners toward wildlife protection.

"Giving them a carrot-like tax incentive to be good stewards of their own land is a critical part of our national conservation strategy, and it's something that should be encouraged."

The federal reform would only apply to federally protected animal species, but the Massachusetts Sierra Club says the Commonwealth should put together its own tax incentive plan for state-protected species.

James McCaffrey, director of Sierra Club Massachusetts, says incentives could relieve some of the pressure from the development community, and preserve species in danger of being "delisted" from endangered species protection.

"The recent delisting of the spotted turtle in Massachusetts was opposed by leading scientists, biologists, and almost every environmental group in Massachusetts, yet the state still delisted it under pressure from the development community."

Kevin Clay/Chris Thomas, Public News Service - MA