Electeds differ on what Tahoe needs

Sens. Dean Heller and Dianne Feinstein show bipartisan and bistate support the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. Photos/Kathryn Reed

Sens. Dean Heller and Dianne Feinstein show bipartisan and bistate support for the Lake Tahoe Restoration Act. Photos/Kathryn Reed

By Kathryn Reed

ROUND HILL – Lake Tahoe’s congressional delegation wants the feds to spend more money in the basin. But they are divided on how much and where to spend it.

Money, forest health, lake clarity and transportation were the key subjects during the 19th annual Lake Tahoe Environmental Summit at Round Hill Pines on Aug. 24.

Sen. Dean Heller, R-Nev., is seeking $450 million in his Lake Tahoe Restoration Act reauthorization bill, while Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, is asking for $60 million in his bill.

Both include money for forest thinning and aquatic invasive species. The more expensive one will include transportation funds, cash for oversight and spending on other Tahoe environmental programs.

Since the inaugural summit in 1997, $1.8 billion in public and private money has been spent on environmental improvement projects in the basin. The initial push was on lake clarity. In the intervening years what does and could affect the lake’s clarity has changed and grown.

Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents the California side of the basin in the House, has introduced a scaled down bill to help Tahoe.

Rep. Tom McClintock, who represents the California side of the basin in the House, has introduced a scaled down bill to help Tahoe.

The other component that has been added is economic. With a healthy forest and a water body that allows people to see more than 70 feet down, it attracts tourists. Without these components, in some ways the basin becomes just another tree filled area with a potentially brown lake.

Gov. Jerry Brown pointed out that with California and Nevada’s populations expected to grow substantially in the coming years that it is impossible to stick with the status quo when it comes to solving problems.

“We are going to have to engineer at a higher level,” Brown told the more than 300 people in attendance. “We have to fight fires smarter and take care of the forests. We need to de-carbonize.”

McClintock warned, “The greatest environmental threat to Tahoe is a forest fire. The Rim Fire (two years ago near Yosemite) was 80 times larger than Angora.”

He believes since Congress has not approved the larger LT Restoration Act since 2009 that it is time to try a smaller formula and get the critical needs addressed. There are agencies in the basin that concur with this approach.


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Comments (14)
  1. Local2 says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    What are you chances of The Tahoe Keys being put on top of their agenda to save Lake Tahoe, I willing to bet the topic will never come up, yet the keys wants to put herbicide into the lake water. Is this OK with you people? I tried to contact The League To Save Lake Tahoe regarding this huge threat, no reply. I will next be contacting the TRPA, I will not hold my breath, it feels like it’s a corrupt done deal, the keys can do whatever they want to reagrding the Lake, anything goes out there.

  2. Mark says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    I respectfully disagree with Rep. Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove in that the biggest threat to Lake Tahoe is not wild fires but rather HUMANS which do cause wildfires and almost all of the rest of the rest of pollution.

  3. Dogula says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    “Smaller versions come from smaller minds”

    Classic. It never even occurs to a man like Brown to respect that the private sector might have a better idea,a less costly idea, and that maybe you can’t keep stealing massive amounts of money from working people for every project you want, without eventually hitting a brick wall.

  4. Kits Carson says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    Can’t stand the sight of him.
    I have to agree with Dog on this one.

  5. Ezri Twill says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    I thought the wood from forest thinning was sold…do they lose money doing this?

    A huge ignored threat is that TRPA doesn’t care about boats leaking oil, only AIS. Boats just leak oil, and pump dirty bilge water as they please.
    A small issue is that people hose themselves down in sunscreen less than a minute before getting in the lake.

  6. TeaTotal says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    ‘Smaller versions come from smaller minds’

    Absolutely accurate- ‘You can’t keep stealing massive amounts of money from working people’-
    that statement perfectly describes what the corporate private sector has accomplished after 35 yrs. of reaganism

    ‘eventually hitting a brick wall.’ Here’s the Real brick wall answer to the greed is good, always wrong lunatic fringe teabags

  7. Sam says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    Feel the Bern so hard.

  8. Boat inspector says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    Ezri Twill, you are misinformed. As a current watercraft inspector, we fail all boats leaking oil and or gas. We also deny 2 strokes. The watercraft inspectors work hard to keep tahoe clean. We deal with the dirty unrully boaters and stop the spread of invasive species into tahoe. Thanks for everyones support. And yes I deny an average of one or two watercraft a week for leaking oil or gas

  9. Moral Hazard says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    Ezril, the closest mill to Tahoe is a 5 hour round trip for a log truck (south shore, if you are lucky with traffic). That is $500 trucking costs alone. The load of wood is worth about $300 per 1000 board feet, and a log truck holds about 3000 board feet. That is pine, fir is about $250 per 1000.

    So just considering wood, it is worth about $500 per load. The logger gets about 1 load per acre. It takes about $2000-$4000 to thin an acre to include slash cleanup.

    Thus logging in Tahoe loses about $1500 to $3500 per acre.

  10. Cranky Gerald says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    Hey Moral-

    The forest thinning often (and usually) includes thousands of small three to 6 or 8 inch trees….useless for lumber.

    The USFS often shreds/chips these and blows them back on the forest floor.

    Some may find their way to generating electricity or heating.

  11. Seriously? says - Posted: August 25, 2015

    Bernie is a communist! We need to limit the biggest destructive force in Tahoe. Humans and government officials with agendas and bigger visions.

  12. hmmm... says - Posted: August 26, 2015

    @Seriously?…So we can understand what you mean when you write ‘Bernie is a communist’!”, please define ‘communism’, socialism’, ‘democratic socialism’, ‘oligarchy’ and ‘democracy’. While you’re doing the research required to educate yourself on the terms you throw around, wanna maybe list how nations which employ social democratic principles fare in quality of life for their citizens, compared to, say…corporate run ‘democracies’ such as ours? For shitsand giggles, maybe a list of political pundits who call Bernie Sanders a communist would be interesting to see, too.

  13. nature bats last says - Posted: August 26, 2015

    Hmmmm, good luck getting this wingnut to find a dictionary let alone know how to use it…but those were some good questions and well worth thinking about…

  14. hmmm... says - Posted: August 26, 2015

    Nats…even Wikipedia gives a serviceable definition of some of those terms.