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Virginia Conservation Efforts Face Calls For Reform

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Conservation efforts have preserved areas like Grayson Highlands, but some charge that new efforts are hampered by a disorderly process.
Conservation efforts have preserved areas like Grayson Highlands, but some charge that new efforts are hampered by a disorderly process.

About 15 percent of Virginia's total acreage has been permanently protected from future development, mainly due to the Land Preservation Tax Credit. Even so, members of the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission are looking for more effective ways to conserve Virginia land.

Virginia's preservation tax credits provide 40 percent of the land's fair market value in exchange for the property-owner's agreement to terminate development rights. That's capped at $100 million annually for everyone.

"Credits are awarded on a first-come, first-served basis, not according to the priority of the land that's being conserved or to its conservation benefits," says JLARC project leader Jamie Bitz. He says that approach limits both public access and funds for other priorities.

Delegate Bobby Orrock suggested keeping the cap, but reallocating a portion to grants.

"Saying we've got two separate pots, whether a 60-40 split, 30-70, however you want to look at it, but the 60-70 percent of this pot of money will go to priority lands."

Other funding options include a state park fee surcharge and increasing recordation or grantors taxes.


A Glimpse Of Listeners' #NPRpoetry — From The Punny To The Profound

It was a simple idea: Would you, our listeners, tweet us poems for National Poetry Month? Your response contained multitudes — haiku, lyrics, even one 8-year-old's ode to her dad's bald spot.
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Eating Insects: The Argument For Adding Bugs To Our Diet

Some say eating insects could save the planet, as we face the potential for global food and protein shortages. It's a common practice in many parts of the world, but what would it take to make bugs more appetizing to the masses here in the U.S.? Does it even make sense to try? A look at the arguments for and against the practice known as entomophagy, and the cultural and environmental issues involved.

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A Federal Official Shakes Up Metro's Board

After another smoke incident and ongoing single tracking delays for fixes, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx announced a shake-up of Metro's board.


'The Guardian' Launches New Series Examining Online Abuse

A video was released this week where female sports journalists were read abusive online comments to their face. It's an issue that reaches far beyond that group, and The Guardian is taking it on in a series called "The Web We Want." NPR's Audie Cornish speaks with series editor Becky Gardiner and writer Nesrine Malik, who receives a lot of online abuse.

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