Bi-state planning at Lake Tahoe could dissolve as soon as January if the latest round of political jockeying surrounding the lake moves forward.
California Senate Bill 630 was amended earlier this month to pull the state out of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency Jan. 1 if Nevada does not repeal Senate Bill 271, a 2011 effort that allows for the removal of the state from the TRPA’s founding document as soon as 2015 if certain reforms are not made.
The amendment to the California bill does not change the original intent of the proposed legislation, which is to make preparations in case Nevada makes good on the threat to pull out of the TRPA, according to Senator Fran Pavley, D-Agoura Hills, one of the sponsors of the bill.
“The intent of the bill remains the same, which is to have a backup plan in case it is needed in California in the event Nevada decides to withdraw from the Tahoe compact as provided in its current law,” Pavley said in a Tuesday statement.
But the amendment does put additional pressure on the process surrounding a separate bill making its way through the Nevada legislature.
“It’s definitely accelerated,” said TRPA spokeswoman Julie Regan, about the California bill’s timeline. “It puts a lot more emphasis on what happens in this legislative session of Nevada.”
On Monday night the Nevada Senate passed Senate Bill 229, which would rescind SB 271, by a 11-10 margin.
One of the provisions of SB 271, passage of an updated regional plan by the TRPA, was completed in December, but now faces a lawsuit by environmental groups.
The compact, first approved in 1969 and revised in 1980, created the TRPA in an effort to regulate land use at Lake Tahoe following years of rapid development. The agency’s policies have been seen as important to slowing development and protecting the lake’s environmental health, but have also been criticized as being overly restrictive.
Proponents of keeping the compact alive have pointed to the passage of the Regional Plan Update as a sign of increased cooperation between the states, while opponents have said the threat of Nevada pulling out of the compact needs to remain to keep California engaged in cooperative management of the lake.
Following Monday’s Senate passage, Nevada SB 229 has been referred to the Committee on Government Affairs, where it faces a May 17 deadline for approval. Despite the Senate approval, the future of the bill is uncertain. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval’s administration has testified against SB 229 at the legislature, according to Sandoval spokeswoman Mary-Sarah Kinner.
If the California bill makes it through the senate, assembly and the governor, it would allow for the re-establishment of the California Tahoe Regional Planning Agency as the regulators of land use on the California side of the lake. The bill is undergoing financial analysis.
“The intent of the remains the same, which is to have a backup plan in case it is needed in California in the event Nevada decides to withdraw from the Tahoe compact as provided in its current law.”
Sen. Fran Pavley