Leaders criticize Sierra Club lawsuit
August 22, 2013
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and California Gov. Jerry Brown took the stage Monday during the Lake Tahoe Summit and criticized the Sierra Club for suing to block a recent update of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency's Regional Plan.
The RPU, the first major revision of the TRPA's regional plan in 25 years, was worked out over the course of about seven years between the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and officials from several federal and state agencies, business groups and environmental activists.
In May, Brown and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval committed both states to continue working together to preserve the lake and Nevada repealed its threatened withdrawal from the TRPA.
In return, California has agreed to back away from its threat to re-establish the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
The RPU includes revisions that require both states to consider economic conditions when developing rules for the lake "as well as language establishing a burden of proof for challenging a regional plan and decisions."
Changing the burden of proof would require people suing the TRPA to show that the agency has erred.
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But despite support from other environmental groups, the Sierra Club filed suit to block implementation of the new management plan, saying it gives too much control to business and developers. The club previously said the plan was "unfocused" and didn't go far enough to protect the area's natural environment.
"I called the Sierra Club and said, 'Don't do this, legislation is an act of compromise,'" said Reid.
"I'm right. They're wrong."
"We reject their lawsuit," Brown said after the annual Tahoe Summit meeting. "They don't quite get it."
Geoff Dornan is a reporter with the Nevada Appeal, a sister publication of The Union based in Carson City, Nev.