EDITORIAL: Not a good idea to split the TRPA
The Tahoe basin is already a murky soup of acronyms, agencies, jurisdictions, bureaucracies and rules.
So why do some Nevada politicians think it’s a good idea to muddle it further?
Today the Senate Government Affairs committee will hear a bill that would remove Nevada from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency and establish a new regional planning agency that would only govern the Nevada side of the lake.
But the bill is scant on reasons why this makes sense.
Maybe that’s because it doesn’t.
The TRPA – favored punching bag of most locals, and sometimes rightfully so – has its faults. But creating two planning agencies on opposite sides of the border is not going to improve lake clarity or make it easier to improve our infrastructure.
Yes, there’s a state line down the 2⁄3 mark of our azure waters on every map. But there’s no physical barrier that keeps Nevada’s activities from affecting California’s waters, and vice versa. Each property, parcel and person in this ecosystem affects each other. To ignore this is ludicrous. TRPA is the only agency that unifies our lake beyond the political borders of our individual communities.
Boat inspections to keep aquatic invasive species like quagga and zebra mussels out of the lake are a prime example of TRPA’s usefulness. The agency was able to act as a voice for the entire basin and implement equitable policies that affected California and Nevada.
How much more difficult would it have been to protect the lake if one of the two regulatory agencies worked more slowly than the other, or enforced less stringent rules.
This bill would only add another level of bureaucracy to helping the lake. On top of five counties, two states, one city, the U.S. Forest Service, the Lahontan Regional Water Quality Control Board and numerous fire and law enforcement agencies, these Nevada legislators are suggesting we add two regional planning agencies.
The key to improving Tahoe for everyone – locals, second-homeowners, businesses and visitors – is to start cooperating and sharing resources, not divvying up powers among even more bureaucrats.
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