Chambers support Tahoe bill |

Chambers support Tahoe bill

Sally J. Taylor

Both South Shore chambers of commerce officially endorsed the proposed federal Lake Tahoe Restoration Act along with a list of concerns to keep an eye on.

The bill, proposed by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, gives the Tahoe Basin a unique federal designation of the Lake Tahoe National Scenic Forest and Recreation Area. The bill also is expected to loosen federal purse strings for implementation of the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency’s environmental improvement projects.

“I don’t feel uncomfortable with it in its present conceptual form,” Tahoe-Douglas Chamber of Commerce President-elect Pat Atherton said Monday during a planning retreat.

The South Lake Tahoe Chamber’s Government Relations and Economy & Environment committees approved the bill and their concerns during a committee meeting on Thursday.

“Overall, the bill is being supported (by the South Lake Tahoe Chamber), but there are several key issues that need to be looked at,” said incoming President Gail Taylor.

Concerns included:

n The implications of the new Lake Tahoe designation, which includes wording from several federal designations that each have their own regulations.

n That the bill not limit the tools available to the United States Forest Service to manage the forests and especially to decrease fire danger.

n That funding be provided for maintenance of projects as well as their construction.

n An apparent contradiction that the bill calls for closure of some back roads while also expecting improved recreational access and fire prevention.

“Depending on who’s reading (the bill), it has a different twist,” Atherton said.

Both chambers will send formal letters of support along with their concerns to Feinstein’s office before the formal release of the bill, expected on June 4.

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