Opinion: Key decisions on Tahoe's future pending in Congress

Aug 21, 2015:
Steve Teshara and Darcie Goodman Collins, Ph.D.
Tahoe Daily Tribune
Aug 21, 2015

Decisions made in Congress over the next few months may well determine the extent to which Lake Tahoe remains blue and clear, with healthy forests, resilient watersheds, and its ecology protected from the threat of new aquatic invasive species.

For two decades, the Lake Tahoe Environmental Improvement Program (EIP) has provided guidance for the shared investments made by our federal, state and local governments, homeowners, and businesses to restore and protect Tahoe’s unique environmental qualities and enhance its diverse public recreation opportunities.

As the 2015 Tahoe Summit nears, two bills are pending in Congress to continue the federal government’s investments at the lake. One of them, Senate Bill 1724, continues the comprehensive and collaborative approach needed to address the traditional as well as new challenges that face our national treasure. The other bill is H.R. 3382 in the House of Representatives. We are concerned that, if passed as written, H.R. 3382 would mark a major retreat for the federal government’s long history of leadership and investments at Tahoe.

Starting in 2000, the first Lake Tahoe Restoration Act authorized the federal share of funding for many of Tahoe’s highest priority projects identified by the EIP. Even before that legislation expired in 2010, Tahoe stakeholders and EIP advocates began working to secure reauthorization. S. 1724 reflects years of input from a diverse array of stakeholders. It is the comprehensive approach essential to build on the foundation of prior Tahoe investments by all EIP partners. We strongly encourage everyone who cares about Lake Tahoe to actively support the federal leadership and investments detailed in S. 1724.

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