Two California senators have introduced a contingency plan for regulation of the California side of Lake Tahoe if Nevada makes good on a threat to pull out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
California senators Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, and Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, introduced Senate Bill 630, the Tahoe Compact Restoration Act of 2013, on Friday. The bill is a response to the 2011 passage of Nevada Senate Bill 271, which threatens to pull the state out of the TRPA's Compact in October 2015 if certain benchmarks are not bet.
Provisions in the Nevada bill "would effectively destroy" the TRPA, according to a Monday statement from the California senators.
"California must have a plan in place to protect Lake Tahoe," Pavley said in the statement. "Due to unilateral action taken by the state of Nevada, the governance structure that has served Lake Tahoe for over four decades is now in jeopardy. We have sought to partner with the state of Nevada on this issue, and still see that as the best way forward."
Passage of an updated regional plan was one of the requirements of SB 271. The Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore have sued to stop implementation of the updated plan, which the TRPA approved in December.
As introduced, Senate Bill 630 would require the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency to adopt a regional plan to regulate long-term development at Lake Tahoe within 18 months. The TRPA's December Regional Plan Update, with some modifications, would serve as an interim development plan under the proposal.
The CTRPA would be governed by a nine-member board, which would include governor's appointees from the Placer County Board of Supervisors, El Dorado County Board of Supervisors and South Lake Tahoe City Council, as well as three members of the public.
The Senate Committee on Rules and the Speaker of the California Assembly would each be given two appointments to the CTRPA under the legislation.
If the Nevada Legislature does not repeal SB 271 during this legislative session, the bill would likely go into effect because the Nevada legislature only meets every two years, according to the California senators.
The Nevada bill includes a provision that, if the state withdraws from the compact, development on the Tahoe basin will be overseen by a Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
Darcie Goodman Collins, executive director of the League to Save Lake Tahoe, said in Monday's statement she is hopeful the states can work together to preserve the TRPA Compact.
"However, as the dissolution of the Compact appears to no longer be an idle threat, California must perform its due diligence in order to safeguard one of the State's most valuable resources," Goodman Collins said. "If Nevada pulls out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Compact, it is imperative that California already have a California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in place."