Legacy Lands Act

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The Legacy Lands Act was passed by the 2005 Hawaii State Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Linda Lingle. This landmark legislation creates a dedicated funding source for purchasing coastal lands, watersheds, and wild areas. The act creates a mechanism to fund the Land Conservation Fund within the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources -- a fund that has been dormant for nearly three decades -- by earmarking 10% of the conveyance tax revenues and by increasing the conveyance tax. Revenues are predicted to double with the acts' taxing formulae.

The Land Conservation Fund was established in 1973, but has sat empty for over 30 years. Now with a dedicated portion of the conveyance tax the State be able to move quickly to protect individual areas when opportunities arise, and a the State fund will instantly leverage millions of dollars in Federal and private commitment to help buy and protect lands in Hawai'i.

The conveyance tax revenues will also help increase funding for Hawaii's Natural Area Reserve Fund -- a fund that receives 25% of the total conveyance tax. Further, the bill will finally allow the Hawaii State Natural Area Reserves System (NARS) to qualify for funding from the Natural Area Reserve Fund. While the NARS -- reserves of the best Hawaiian ecosystems on publicly-owned land -- struggles for its roughly $1 million budget appropriation annually, resource experts estimate that at least $5 million annually is needed to maintain the integrity of the NARS for our children and future generations.

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