Governor comes to Colfax to sign bill |

Governor comes to Colfax to sign bill

A bill that would create California’s largest land conservancy for the Sierra Nevada will become law today when Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appears at a signing ceremony near Colfax.

The conservancy would allow public money to be used to purchase sensitive land and finance environmental restoration projects across 25 million acres in the Sierra Nevada.

Jedd Medefind, chief of staff for Assemblyman Tim Leslie, R-Tahoe City, said the governor has supported establishing the conservancy since before he was elected.

“We were pretty confident from the beginning it was a go, that he would sign the bill,” Medefind said. “It was part of his environmental platform running for office.”

Leslie’s work on the bill ensures that local representatives, not just state officials, will be part of the decision making process for how the money gets spent, Medefind said.

“It will channel a lot of funds into the Sierra that currently go to urban areas and the coast,” Medefind said. “More importantly, it gives Sierra residents unprecedented influence on how those funds are spent.”

The conservancy would be the ninth in the state. The California side of the Lake Tahoe Basin would not directly be affected by the Sierra Nevada Conservancy, because Tahoe is already served by the California Tahoe Conservancy.

Dennis Machida, executive director of the California Tahoe Conservancy, has said he expects the two organizations will reinforce each other’s work.

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