Congressional investigation leaves fate of land trusts uncertain

A recent congressional investigation into doings at The Nature Conservancy, the country’s largest land trust (not to mention the world’s wealthiest environmental group), uncovered some seriously unsavory practices: insider dealings, tax dodging, corporate kowtowing, and endangerment of rare species, to name a few. As a result, Congress considered eliminating the conservation-easement tax deduction — the foundation of land trusts — altogether. That didn’t happen, but the rules are changing, and millions of acres of land across the U.S. could be affected. Pat Burns offers a rundown of the situation.