Geoff Dornan

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May 16, 2013
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After pledge of bistate support, TRPA bill headed for approval

The California-Nevada compromise bill to modify operation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency is headed for a floor vote in the Assembly.

SB229 was approved by the Assembly Government Affairs Committee Thursday, the day after the governor’s office, Senate and Assembly leadership presented the compromise designed to repeal Nevada’s threatened withdrawal from the bi-state agency. The withdrawal language was passed by Nevada lawmakers two years ago to force California to negotiate changes in the agency.

Gov. Brian Sandoval threatened to veto the original bill. But he and California Gov. Jerry Brown helped bring lawmakers from both states and others together to hammer out an agreement acceptable to both.

The agreed-upon language promises both states will work together to implement the new regional compact governing TRPA operations and push to win congressional approval of the changes.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., also promised to help shepherd the changes through the U.S. Senate.

A major change requires that economic conditions, not just environmental issues, be considered in handling development and rules at the lake. Gov. Brian Sandoval’s Chief of Staff Gerald Gardner said SB229 also raises the burden of proof for anyone challenging TRPA decisions.

That is designed to address complaints by businesses and others at the lake that no matter what TRPA does, environmental groups sue to block decisions involving the lake.

Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Gardnerville, whose district includes Lake Tahoe, said those at both ends of the spectrum are upset with the compromise.

“So I guess that means it’s good policy,” he said.

After a floor vote in the Assembly, the measure will return to the senate for adoption of the amendments, then go to Sandoval’s desk.

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated May 16, 2013 05:09PM Published May 16, 2013 12:56PM Copyright 2013 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.