Update on Lake Tahoe Threat

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Lake Tahoe in summer.Last week, the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore filed a lawsuit to block the new Regional Plan of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency. Given our role in negotiating this plan, a lot of people have asked us for our thoughts. (Read my statement on the lawsuit itself.) Our primary concern is that proponents of SB271 will use this lawsuit as another excuse to not repeal the measure that will pull Nevada out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact.

It’s unfortunate that the Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore have chosen to litigate the new Regional Plan. We’re hopeful that this litigation can be resolved quickly so that the new plan can be put into place.

That being said, using this lawsuit as an excuse not to repeal SB 271 is not defensible. There is nothing in SB 271, including the changes to the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact, that would have prevented this litigation. Can any such bill really prevent private citizens or organizations from filing a lawsuit?

In 2011, proponents of SB271 claimed that the legislation was needed to get California to the table and produce a new Regional Plan. Many said they had no desire to actually withdraw Nevada from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact.

We disagreed, and still disagree with the tactic of taking such a dangerous and extreme position as pulling Nevada out of the Regional Planning Compact in order to further those goals.  However, by those standards, the goals of SB 271 have been met. California did come to the table and a new regional plan was negotiated that enjoys wide public support from the two states, local governments, the business community and the environmental community.

Without legislative action, Nevada will withdraw from the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact in 2015. The two states have agreed on a new regional plan and the existing voting structure has been proven to work. It’s time for Nevada to recommit to the protection of Lake Tahoe and repeal SB 271.

If you need more information or want to take action, you can read more news stories on Tahoe, sign our Save Lake Tahoe petition or to read our FAQ about Lake Tahoe and SB271.

Kyle Davis
Policy Director

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