Nevada legislators introduced a bill Monday to repeal an effort to pull the state out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency.
The Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs introduced Senate Bill 229 on Monday. The bill would completely repeal 2011’s Senate Bill 271, which threatens to pull Nevada out of the bi-state planning agency in October 2015 if certain changes to the agency aren’t made. SB 271 authorizes Nevada’s governor to postpone the withdrawal until October 2017 under certain circumstances.
One of the most significant changes sought by SB 271 was the passage of an updated regional plan guiding development and land use throughout the Lake Tahoe Basin.
The TRPA’s Governing Board passed its Regional Plan Update in December. The Sierra Club and Friends of the West Shore sued to block the plan’s implementation last month. The environmental groups believe rules in the new plan will not accomplish the TRPA’s environmental goals and will cause a new era of over-development at the lake. Proponents of the RPU contend the new rules will help ease burdensome restrictions on basin residents and businesses, while helping advance protection of Lake Tahoe.
The League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Nevada Conservation League have urged legislators to repeal SB 271, especially in light of the RPU’s passage. Maintaining the TRPA’s Compact is key to protecting the lake, according to the groups.
“Our organization believes that the two states working under one regulatory agency is still the best manner in which to protect the Lake,” League to Save Lake Tahoe Executive Director Darcie Collins said in a Tuesday statement. “With the current momentum of collaboration in the basin following the passage of the regional plan update in December, this is the right time for Nevada to recommit to the Bi-state Compact and a unified Lake Tahoe. It is imperative that SB229 passes during this legislative session to prevent Nevada’s scheduled pull-out of the compact in 2015.”
In December, Nevada Secretary of State Ross Miller, a supporter of SB 271, said he would favor repeal of the legislation if the TRPA passed its RPU and the plan did not face a court challenge. Miller was not immediately available for comment Tuesday afternoon.
Sen. James Settelmeyer, R-Minden, who sponsored SB 271, said the environmental group’s challenge to the RPU shows the need for the legislation to continue.
“Obviously to me the lawsuit proved that SB 271 still needs to be in play,” Settelmeyer told The Associated Press.
California legislators introduced a bill last month that would resurrect the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency if Nevada pulls out of the TRPA. SB 271 includes the creation of a Nevada Tahoe Regional Planning Agency if the state pulls out of the TRPA.
A hearing date for Senate Bill 229 has not been set. The first court date in the environmental group’s challenge to the RPU is also yet to be scheduled.