WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today thanked his colleagues for their support after his amendment regarding easements was included in S. 659, the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act. Rounds’ amendment would require documentation that landowners have been fully informed of all of their conservation options—both termed and perpetual—when choosing to place their land in conservation easements. S. 659 passed out of the Senate EPW Committee this morning with Rounds’ support. It now heads to the full Senate for consideration.
“When entering into a conservation easement with the government, South Dakota’s farmers, ranchers and landowners should be made aware of all options available to them,” said Rounds. “Greater optionality for landowners will benefit everyone, and I believe it will result in greater public access to land. Giving landowners the option of entering into a termed, renewable contract for conservation easements will keep the landowners and federal government on equal footing.”
Rounds’ amendment includes language making sure there is documentation showing landowners were made aware they have the option of setting their land aside in an easement for a limited period of time. It will make sure landowners are aware of all their options and are not forced into making a decision that will lock their land into a permanent easement, preventing future generations from accessing it.