California Gov. Jerry Brown and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval have worked out a deal they say will renew the bi-state partnership to preserve Lake Tahoe.
Sandoval said the plan was developed with legislative leadership from both states and will begin with bids to repeal both Nevada’s threatened withdrawal from the Tahoe Regional Compact and California’s plan to re-establish the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
In a joint announcement Tuesday, the governors said each state has committed to provisions requiring that economic conditions be included in developing and adopting rules at the lake, “as well as language establishing a burden of proof for challenging a regional plan and decisions.”
The two promised to work closely with state legislators and Congress to get those amendments in place on both Nevada’s Senate Bill 229 and California’s proposed legislation.
But they added that some updates to the regional compact will require Congress to sign off.
The Bi-State Compact that provides for management of the Tahoe Basin by the TRPA was created and sanctified by Congress in 1969. The regional plan directing TRPA’s activities was updated this past year after Nevada threatened to withdraw from the compact unless significant changes were made.
The Senate approved SB 229, which would repeal the withdrawal threat, this session. However, Sandoval threatened to veto it, saying it was too soon. His spokesman, Conservation and Natural Resource Director Leo Drozdoff, told lawmakers that bill actually threatened the progress made since the legislation threatening withdrawal was passed in 2011.
Environmental groups pushed for repeal, saying the law had done its job. However, Drozdoff said it was too early because the newly approved regional plan had not yet been implemented by counties around the lake, as well as that the Sierra Club had already sued to block the compromise plan developed over the past two years.
The agreement announced by Sandoval and Brown says the deal they have worked out will allow both states to move forward to implement the new plan approved by TRPA. That plan would surrender a significant amount of authority long held by the TRPA Governing Board to local governments and the two states.
The League to Save Lake Tahoe and Nevada Conservation League praised the deal saying it will help protect the lake. Darcie Goodman-Collins of the League said they have been working to satisfy both states while protecting the lake.
“This agreement does just that,” she said.
Kyle Davis of the conservation league said protection of Lake Tahoe is a high priority for the people of both states and thanked all parties involved for making sure both states are committed to the lake’s future.
— Geoff Dornan is a writer for the Nevada Appeal, a sister paper of The Union. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.