Commission reluctantly supports Feinstein bill |

Commission reluctantly supports Feinstein bill

Andy Bourelle

After months of indecision, Douglas County commissioners Thursday agreed to support Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s Lake Tahoe Preservation Act – in concept.

However, commissioners expressed concern that the bill itself – even if passed – does not guarantee help to Lake Tahoe. While it would call for $30 million a year be authorized to Tahoe preservation projects, it doesn’t promise those funds will be appropriated.

“With some trepidation, I am supporting the motion and the second,” said Jacques Etchegoyhen, chairman of the board. “I don’t think political rhetoric has been scientifically proven to help Lake Tahoe one bit. In essence, that’s all this bill is.”

Juan Palma, forest supervisor of the U.S. Forest Service Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit, spoke with commissioners Thursday, answering questions commissioners raised a few weeks ago. Since learning about the California senator’s intention to introduce the bill in May, commissioners have been undecided on whether to lend support to the bill, an action numerous Lake Tahoe agencies have recently taken.

Steve Weissinger, Douglas County commissioner, Thursday said he now felt comfortable supporting the bill. He said he was confident the bill’s intention was to bring more money to Tahoe and coordinate environmental efforts in the basin.

“I just hope it brings money to Lake Tahoe without adding another layer of government,” he said.

The vote was 4-1. Commissioner Kelly Kite voted against it.

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