Campaign Promises

Cabinet/Departments -> Interior -> Habitat

The Promise: "...will support the use of tax incentives and other financial mechanisms to encourage private landowners to restore and protect habitat."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Sportsmen" dated 08/06/08.
Status:Tax incentives for restoring and protecting habitat, formally known as the "Enhanced Easement Incentive," were extended to 12/31/11 under the Tax Relief, Unemployment Insurance Reauthorization and Job Creation Act signed into law by President Obama on 12/17/10.

Section 111, Division Q of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (H.R. 2029) signed into law by President Obama on 12/18/15 made permanent the conservation easement tax incentive.

Under this provision, non-farmer/rancher landowners who donate land for conservation easement purposes can deduct 50% of their annual income for 15 years. Qualifying farmer and rancher landowners can deduct 100% of their annual income for 15 years for the same purpose.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will direct the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior to place a special emphasis on restoration of habitat for important game species associated with specific regions of the United States..."
When/Where: Obama Plan: "Supporting the Rights and Traditions of Sportsmen" dated 08/06/08.
Status:To fulfill this promise, the American Rovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 authorized $165M for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Resource Management account for "deferred maintenance, construction, and capital improvement projects on national wildlife refuges and national fish hatcheries and for high priority habitat restoration projects."

Started in 01/08, The State Acres for Wildlife Enhancement (SAFE) program allows for individual states to offer special projects within the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) to benefit threatened, endangered, and other high-priority species through habitat restoration. The SAFE program sets aside 500K acres under CRP for this purpose.

President Obama's FY2010 budget submission included $119M, a $34M million increase over FY2009, for Forest Service funding through the Land and Water Conservation Fund to acquire easements to provide habitat for threatened or endangered wildlife and fish. In the FY2010 budget, another $230M was proposed for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) for habitat restoration.

For FY2011, President Obama's budget submission included $300M for ecosystem restoration efforts in the Great Lakes area, $17M for the Mississippi River Basin, $13M for the Chesapeake Bay, and other initiatives.

This promise was fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will make the restoration of America's Everglades a top environmental priority in their administration. They will honor the federal government's promise to be a 50-50 partner with Florida to complete the CERP and will provide the national leadership necessary to restore the natural flows of water to Everglades National Park, including the bridging of Tamiami Trail, and assure that the water flowing to the Everglades ecosystem and Park is fresh and clean."
When/Where: Obama-Biden Plan: "Protecting Florida's Waterways" dated 10/16/08.
Status:Under the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan (CERP) approved by Congress in FY2000, the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) is responsible for 50% of the cost to implement the $10.9B, 30-year plan. The federal government, primarily the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) is responsible for paying the other half.

During the period FY2010 through FY2017, the federal government (DOI and USACE) spent an additional $1.5B in support of design and construction of CERP projects. The funding breakdown is roughly as follows:

The Tamiami Trail, built in 1928, runs for 275 miles from Miami along the northern edge of Everglades National Park, through Big Cypress National Preserve, and ends in Tampa. This trail is considered to be environmentally damaging as it acts as a dam for Everglades waterflow as it cuts the "River of Grass" through its center. Most damaging is an 11-mile section of the trail that lays on top of the Northeat Shark River Slough, a deep waterway that is the primary source of water for Everglades National Park and Florida Bay. These areas are starved of freshwater while polluted water is diverted to fragile estuaries in the ocean.

As of end-CY2016, only one of five needed Tamiami Trail bridges was completed at a cost of $95M. On 04/22/16, work began on a second bridge, 2.6 miles in length, at a cost of $144M. This bridge could be completed by CY2020. Three additional bridges are needed at an estimated cost of $400M.

This promise was not fulfilled.
The Promise: "...will increase incentives for farmers and private landowners to...protect wetlands, grasslands, and forests."
When/Where: Obama and Biden's Plan for America: "Blueprint for Change," dated 10/09/08.
Status:Other than the pre-existing Landowner Incentive Program (LIP) as of mid-CY2012, no "additional incentives" are known to have been created by the Obama Administration specifically to encourage private landowner protection and restoration of wetlands, grasslands, forests and other wildlife habitat.

During the years preceding President Obama's two terms in office, and since CY1998, the LIP was funded in the amount of $136.5M, funds that were disbursed on a grant basis. The LIP received no new funding while President Obama was in office.

While Section 111, Division Q of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 (H.R. 2029) signed into law by President Obama on 12/18/15 made permanent the conservation easement tax incentive, this initiative is not considered to respond specifically to the intent of this promise.

This promise was not fulfilled.