TPL Praises Key Congressional Conservation Allies

Washington, DC, 4/18/2007: The Trust for Public Land (TPL) today praised U.S. Senators Judd Gregg (R-NH) and Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and U.S. Representatives Jim Saxton (R-NJ) and Lois Capps (D-CA) for introducing legislation to authorize the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to issue grants for conserving threatened lands in coastal and estuarine areas.

On April 18, 2007, S. 1142, the Coastal and Estuarine Land Protection Act (CELP), was introduced by Senators Gregg and Lautenberg in the Senate, and companion legislation, H.R. 1907, was introduced by Representatives Saxton and Capps in the U.S. House of Representatives. The Senate bill authorizes “such sums as may be necessary,” and the House counterpart specifies $100 million annually for the purpose of conserving coastal land. Similar to legislation introduced in the previous Congress, both bills reduce the non-federal match requirement to 25% from the current 50%.

“TPL applauds Senators Gregg and Lautenberg and Representatives Saxton and Capps for their leadership and long-standing support for protecting our remaining coastal open spaces in our nation’s coastal states. Given the importance of healthy, productive and accessible coastal areas, a federal commitment to state and local coastal protection is a much-needed sound investment,” said Alan Front, TPL’s Sr. Vice President. “The CELP program has already provided millions to help local communities to protect vanishing coastal resources and to provide public access to their waterfronts and we look forward to realizing the benefits of this new legislation to protect more land for public benefit.”

CELP was created by Congress in FY 2002 in order to “protect those coastal and estuarine areas with significant conservation, recreation, ecological, historical or aesthetic values, or that are threatened by conversion from their natural or recreational states to other uses.” Thus far, this program has invested over $176 million towards 119 conservation projects in 25 of the nation’s 35 coastal states.

The Trust for Public Land organized letters to the Senate and House co-sponsors from supporting organizations thanking them for their leadership. Similarly, TPL organized and submitted testimony on behalf of several supporting organizations requesting $80 million in CELP funding from the Senate Commerce-Justice-Science appropriations subcommittee for FY08 and will testify in support of this funding before the House Appropriations Subcommittee Commerce, Justice and Science on April 26.

The Trust for Public Land, established in 1972, specializes in conservation real estate, applying its expertise in negotiations, public finance, and law to protect land for people to enjoy as parks, greenways, community gardens, urban playgrounds, and wilderness. With funding from the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, Forest Legacy Program, Land & Water Conservation Fund, state and local open-space funds, and other public and private investments, TPL has helped to protect more than 2.2 million acres across the country. TPL depends upon the support of individuals, foundations and corporations. For more information, visit TPL on the web at