Stand with Virginia — Support property rights!

Currently there is NO Predictability, Transparency, Accountability, Standards or Oversight over the $100 million dollars a year in Conservation Easement “Tax Credits” in Virginia. The Tax Paying Citizens have no vote or say whatsoever in the implementation of these “tax credits” that are intended to be used for “preservation” and “conservation”. Time and time again, we the people witness corruption of these tax credits when placed in the hands of Non-Government Organizations “trusted” by the people for Conservation Easement Holders to obtain thousands of acres of Virginia farm land.

Martha Boneta VirginiaMost recently, The Piedmont Environmental Council, also known as the “PEC” has grossly trespassed on the rights of family farmers, abused their authority, entered in to secretive contractual relationships with realtors over farmland held in easement by the PEC, interfered with the quiet peace and enjoyment of family farmers and the rural agricultural community by bully intimidation.

The trust of The Virginia Conservation Easement Program has been broken and beyond repair. The Conservation SignPetitionEasement Program that is paid for by OUR TAXES has created involuntary servitude, that by definition, is an individual laboring against their own will to benefit another, under some form of coercion. We question the very constitutionality of the current Conservation Easement Program and “tax credits” that are forced upon the citizenry without their consent.

We believe the lack of transparency, accountability, standards and sanctions for abusive land trusts has placed an undue burden on the Commonwealth of Virginia citizenry. We believe that without reform and referendums, the entire program should be defunded so the citizens can be made whole from the abusive conduct of Conservation Easement holders.
The Current Conservation Easement Program has created a NEW FEUDALISM with surfs as land owner slaves and a system that empowers Conservation Easement Holders like the PEC to reign terror on the public and act as GOVERNMENT BY PROXY.
We the PEOPLE, tax paying citizens and organizations, demand REFORM, REFERENDUMS and REPEAL of the Virginia Conservation Easement Program.

When ONE Virginia FAMILY FARMER suffers, WE ALL SUFFER. The Oppression stops now.
WE CALL ON The Virginia General Assembly, The Governor, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation, The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to REFORM the Virginia Conservation Easement Program as follows:
Virginia Conservation Easement REFORM ACT
END Abusive GOVERNMENT BY PROXY!

1. The Piedmont Environmental Council is to be forbidden from using any Virginia Tax Credits for the Acquisition of Virginia Conservation Easements.
2. The Piedmont Environmental Council may not acquire any new conservation easements in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

3. That All Virginia Conservation Easement Holders must be accountable, transparent and provide all Documents pertaining to any easement property to the general public at any time it is requested.

4. No Virginia Conservation Easement Tax Credits may be used in the acquisition of real property that is to be held by a non-statewide Land Trust.

5. Conservation Easement Language is to be interpreted in favor the LAND OWNER, not the Conservation Easement Holder.

6. All Conservation Easement language must Include A WARNING Label that Conservation Easements may result in harassment, abusive inspections and terrorizing by the Conservation Easement Holder.

7. All Conservation Easement must include remedies for that Land Owners against abusive Conservation Easement Holders.

8. Every 3 years, Conservation Easement Holders will be reviewed to determine if they are in good standing and eligible to continue to hold conservation easements in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

9. A 5 year opt out option for the Land Owner to terminate the easement and every five years thereafter.

10. No 3rd Party Enforcement of any kind.

11. No Conservation Easement may be co-held by multiple Conservation Easement Holders.

12. No Conservation Easement Holder may issue themselves a Conservation Easement.

13. Any Conservation Easement Holder that violates any of the terms of the Conservation Easement Reform Act will render the conservation easement null and void.

14. Land Owners have the right to bring grievances against any Conservation Easement Holder that abuses their authority before a Land Trust Oversight Committee charged with delivering sanctions and disciplinary actions including termination of abusive Conservation Easement Holders.

15. No private Conservation Easement Holders in the Commonwealth of Virginia may acquire more than TWO (2) Conservation Easements per year.

16. No Conservation Easement Holder employees or Board of Directors may simultaneously hold any government positions in any capacity.

17. No Conservation Easement Holders may use government resources to enforce a conservation easement.

18. No Conservation Easement Holders may act on behalf of private individuals to enforce easement or covenant provisions.

19. Every Commonwealth of Virginia statewide election will include Referendums for the citizenry of Virginia to vote on if We The PEOPLE want “conservation tax credits” like the $100 million dollars/year of “preservation” and “conservation” tax credits that currently exist against our will.

20. If these terms are not implemented, WE THE PEOPLE demand that the Virginia Conservation Program be DEFUNDED.

WE DEMAND CONSERVATION EASEMENT REFORM and an END TO ABUSIVE GOVERNMENT BY PROXY!

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About the Author: Craig Rucker

Craig Rucker is the executive director and co-founder of CFACT.