Business leaders don’t want to be left out
Hoping Tahoe’s economic toes will not be stepped on during the environmental dance at the Presidential Summit, a group of South Shore business representatives will meet tonight with Tom Tuchmann, the western director of the United States Department of Agriculture.
“It’s our hope the business community ensures (the president’s) agenda includes economic issues as an integral part of the summit,” said Kathleen Farrell, the executive director of the Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce. “Absent a healthy economy, there is no money for mitigating environmental damage done in the past or improving conditions for the future.”
Representatives from the Tahoe-Douglas and South Lake Tahoe chambers of commerce, as well as other business leaders will be included in the private workshop at Harrah’s Lake Tahoe.
The South Shore business workshop and a similar one Monday evening on the North Shore were initiated at the invitation of Tuchmann.
A series of public workshops with Cabinet-level officials has already been conducted on issues related to forest health, water quality and transportation.
Business leaders wonder if economic conditions are only included as an afterthought. Business leaders fear a heavy-handed emphasis on environmental conditions could further damage Tahoe’s struggling economy.
According to a recent report by the Strategic Marketing Group, specifically prepared as a reference for the Presidential Summit, tourism generates 80 percent of the $1.6 billion Tahoe economy.
“Discussions have been “the forest and ecosystem, and, oh yeah, the economy,” said Duane Wallace, the executive director of the South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce. Tahoe’s “golden eggs are both the lake and tourism,” he said. “They’re not mutually exclusive.”
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