Congress may consider study of Lake Tahoe |

Congress may consider study of Lake Tahoe

Jenifer Ragland

U.S. Representative Jim Gibbons, R-Nev., Wednesday announced a possible allocation of $810,000 to go toward preserving Lake Tahoe.

The money, included in the House Appropriations Bill for Energy and Water Development, would be used to fund a study analyzing flood control, water quality, wetland habitat and other environmental restoration opportunities in the Tahoe Basin.

Nathan Parrott, Gibbons’ press secretary, could not elaborate on the specifics of the project, described as a reconnaissance study. He said the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will be responsible for working out the details and forming conclusions.

“All I can tell you is, in order to solve the lake’s problems, you have to know exactly what’s going on,” Parrott said. “That’s what this study will try to illuminate. Finding the problems is one of the steps in coming up with the total solution.”

Although the project has long received bipartisan support, the Senate bill only allots $320,000 for the effort. The matter has been sent to a conference committee made up of lawmakers from both parties and houses to settle the discrepancy, Parrott said.

“Hopefully, after negotiations in the conference committee take place, we will be able to secure the full $810,000 that is needed for this project,” Gibbons said.

Parrott said the issue should be resolved before legislators leave for the winter recess, which usually happens in late October or early November.

If the two sides cannot reach an agreement and the full $810,000 is not allotted, Parrott said the Corps of Engineers would be responsible for coming up with the difference.

The study is not related to the Lake Tahoe Presidential Forum, but incorporates the same philosophy the event was based on.

“Congressman (John) Doolittle and I have fought hard to secure an appropriate financial commitment to aid in preserving the quality and integrity of Lake Tahoe,” Gibbons said. “Lake Tahoe is a national treasure enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. We must take all action necessary to ensure that this beautiful landmark is provided adequate protection.”

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