Tahoe in the News

AT&T Backtracks on Removing Lead Cables Amid Legal Fight

By Julie Brown | Moonshine Ink
May 9, 2024

Two abandoned cables containing lead lie at the bottom of Lake Tahoe, have been lying there for decades, and will continue to lie there, likely until a contentious lawsuit that pits a publicly traded corporation against a group of environmental activists is resolved in court.

AT&T had plans in place to remove the cables last fall. But after a Wall Street Journal investigation that was published in the summer dug into the company’s legacy of lead-clad infrastructure across the country, AT&T’s stocks fell to record lows and the company swiftly reversed course, halting all efforts to remove the cables. Now, the company is arguing in court that the Lake Tahoe cables should remain in place until more lead testing can be done.

One cable runs across the mouth of Emerald Bay, where thousands of boats crisscross all summer long. The second traverses the West Shore, running north across Rubicon Bay. In each cable, a core of copper strands is encased in a quarter inch-thick jacket of lead, which is in turn wrapped by a layer of steel rods. Every foot of cable contains more than 3 pounds of lead, adding up to more than 68 tons of lead sitting at the bottom of Lake Tahoe, according to court documents filed in the civil suit case.

Read the full story here.

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