HOMEWOOD, Calif. and#8212; Fiscal challenges on the federal and state levels will make it difficult to secure public funding for many environmental restoration projects around the Lake Tahoe Basin, congressional delegates and state leaders said Tuesday at the 15th annual Lake Tahoe Summit.
and#8220;There's not enough funding to do anything, so we have to reorder our priorities everywhere and#8212; TRPA, Washington and Sacramento,and#8221; said California Gov. Jerry Brown in an interview following the event.
Less funding could affect erosion control, fine sediment mitigation, boat inspections for invasive species and hazardous fuels reduction and other preventative measure meant to curtail the risk of wildfire at Lake Tahoe.
The event at Homewood Mountain Resort saw a full slate of speakers, including U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Dean Heller, R-Nev., along with Brown, a Democrat, and Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, a Republican.
The fate of the $415 million Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2011, introduced to the Senate floor earlier this year after it didn't leave the Senate floor during its inaugural introduction a year prior, is also questionable, Feinstein said in a follow-up interview.
and#8220;We have just introduced (the bill and) there has been no hearing to date,and#8221; she said. and#8220;And the money is still unknown. It's about $400 million from the feds and that looks very unrealistic.and#8221;
Reid expressed dismay over the restoration act's stagnation, saying the legislation could fund continuing efforts to prevent the introduction of aquatic invasive species into Lake Tahoe.
and#8220;The Lake Tahoe Restoration Act of 2010 ... was good legislation,and#8221; he said. and#8220;But, unfortunately, it never left the Senate.and#8221;
All speakers talked about the need for public agencies such as the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to partner with the private sector to generate revenue for environmental restoration projects.
and#8220;I'm asking the private sector and#8212; lakewide and#8212; to try and raise $300 million,and#8221; Feinstein said. and#8220;About $270 million over the last 10 years came from the private sector, so we're asking them to increase that effort.and#8221;
Sandoval said public/private partnerships are Lake Tahoe's and#8220;best hope for making progress.and#8221;
and#8220;I think the lake stands as a microcosm of the larger issues we face,and#8221; Brown said during his formal remarks, adding that developers and envionrmentalists must find room for collaboration.
Heller said the TRPA must revert back to its original purpose and cede much of the governing authority to local jurisdictions that dot the shores of the lake.
and#8220;The TRPA needs to develop a set of priorities and focus on those priorities,and#8221; he said.