WASHINGTON–U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-S.D.), a member of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee, today applauded the passage of his easement disclosure amendment to the bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act. The amendment would establish a federal education program to make certain landowners are given all of the federal conservation options available to them when choosing to put their land into a conservation easement. Earlier this month, Rounds offered a similar easement disclosure amendment that was included in the Bipartisan Sportsmen’s Act passed by the Senate EPW Committee.
“When entering into a conservation easement with the federal government, South Dakota’s farmers, ranchers and landowners should be made aware of all options available to them,” said Rounds. “My amendment would make certain they are fully aware that perpetual conservation easements – which bind future generations into a contract with the federal government – aren’t their only option. It increases awareness for shorter, termed easements, which, I believe would result in more public access to land and greater optionality for landowners. Additionally, it keeps landowners and the federal government on equal footing.”
Rounds’ amendment contains language to establish a federal education program through the U.S. Department of the Interior to allow landowners to learn all of the federal conservation options available to them when choosing to set their land aside in an easement. The agency would be required to make landowners aware of this education program when approaching them about participating in a conservation program.
The bipartisan Energy Policy Modernization Act is currently being debated in the Senate. It focuses on creating more affordable energy, more abundant energy and more functional energy systems throughout the United States. It was referred out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources by a vote of 18-4.