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Lake’s ban on Jet Skis will see changes

by Andy Bourelle

KINGS BEACH – The Tahoe Tahoe Regional Planning Agency will likely amend its regulations concerning personal watercraft and Jet Skis next month – but not much.

The bistate planning agency’s governing board Wednesday received an update on recent research that will be used to amend the current regulations, and TRPA staff indicated amendments will be minor.

“Fundamentally, we think we’ve already done this right,” said Gabby Barrett, a TRPA senior planner.



TRPA’s governing board in 1997 banned personal watercraft and two-stroke carbureted engines from being used at Lake Tahoe, effective June 1, 1999. TRPA staff earlier this year indicated the ban probably would be revised to more of an emission standard.

Now, TRPA staff says those banned watercraft won’t pass an adopted emission standard either.



The California Air Resources Board will consider on Dec. 10 new standards for motorized watercraft, regulations that will be more stringent than the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has adopted.

“I think ultimately, regardless of what happens, the ARB discharge standards will become the basis for what we do,” said Jim Baetge, executive director of TRPA.

Some board members expressed concern that the amendments would lessen standards, and Baetge assured them it would not.

“It will not retreat,” he said.

Board members received reports from the University of Nevada, Reno; CARB; University of California, Davis; U.S. Geological Survey and the Nevada Division of Wildlife regarding research and studies conducted this year. TRPA staff soon will compile the research, and the governing board is expected to take action on the issue at its December meeting.

Also at the meeting of TRPA’s governing board:

n The board received an update on MTBE – methyl tertiary butyl ether – and its presence in Lake Tahoe.

The item was not for action, and Pam Drum, TRPA public affairs coordinator, said the board would look at the issue again next month. She said TRPA did not yet know what kind of action it would take regarding the possibility of banning the controversial gasoline additive from the Tahoe Basin.

n The governing board approved the plans for South Lake Tahoe’s Redevelopment Project No. 3.

The project, to be located across Highway 50 from the Park Avenue redevelopment project, is expected to bring large hotels, a convention center, a scaled replica of Lake Tahoe and more developments to the area currently occupied by one-, two- and three-story motels and other commercial buildings.

Construction could begin at the start of the 2000 building season.

“I think this is outstanding,” said Drake DeLanoy, the chair of the governing board and governor of Nevada appointee.

Tahoe Daily Tribune E-mail: tribune@tahoe.com

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